One of the most important things you might want to learn while working in a kitchen is how to chop vegetables fast. Different cuisines require different vegetable cutting styles, which makes the task more challenging.
Cutting the vegetables is an art—the more you spend your time with your knife, the shorter it will take for you to master it. However, you should be careful while using a knife or else you will cut your finger or hand easily. To help out, here are some basic cutting tips for you to get this job done easily.
What Are the Pre-Requisites?
Before you start the procedure, be sure to prepare the cutting tools. We have jotted down few pre-chopping steps for you.
1. Choose the Perfect Cutting Surface
The cutting boards come in different materials like plastic, wood, or bamboo. Plastic is easy to use due to its lightweight, but it is not durable. Also, sharp knives can leave scars and ridges on it.
Wood boards are easy to clean and have antiseptic properties. Some people also like to use bamboo boards, but they can dull your knife easily.
2. Separate the Boards
Be careful while handling the meat and vegetables. One of the pro tips to prevent any mishap is to keep your cutting surfaces separate. Use one chopping board to cut the vegetables and fruits, and use another for chopping the meat.
3. Prevent It from Slipping Around
The chopping boards can slip around easily. If you want to prevent this from happening, do not forget to place a wet cloth beneath the chopping board.
4. Select the Right Knife
Not every knife is suitable for all the kitchen jobs. A balanced knife should feel a slight heavier when you hold it.
The wide blade of chef knives prevent you from exerting more pressure plus it is always plain, so for chopping, a chef knife of eight to ten inches works better. That said, you can use the serrated one for some small sized vegetables like tomatoes.
5. Sharpen It
One of the best ways on how to chop vegetables fast is not to forget to sharpen your knife. A sharp knife saves you time and energy, as well as gives you perfectly chopped vegetables.
On the contrary, a dull knife injures your finger and raggedly cuts the vegetables. The chef knife is easy to be honed because of its plain blade. Just dip it in water to keep vegetables from sticking.
6. Prepare the Vegetables
Rinsing your stuff and vegetables is the first step in cooking since it removes all the attached dirt and dust. Some recipes require peeled vegetables, while some do not. So, it is up to you if you want to peel the vegetable or not.
Most of the recipes tell you to remove the kernels and seed as they can produce a slight offending taste in the cuisine. Some recipes though are fine with the presence of seeds and kernels. Just do as directed by the recipe to enjoy the delicious taste of your food.
How to Chop Vegetables Fast?
Once you are done with the basic steps, it’s time to move towards the real battle zone.
1. Decide on the Final Cut
It’s important to know the lingo of your recipe. Some common types of food cutting styles include peel, slice, julienne, cubes, and ribbon. Once you get to know the desired shape, you are good to go.
2. Root On
Most of the recipes want you to remove the roots of vegetables just to avoid the addition of any bitter taste. However, experts suggest that you should cut the vegetables with the roots on. This way, the small vegetables like an onion does not slip away easily.
Additionally, roots let you hold the vegetable firmly, so it is suggested that you remove the roots at the end of the cutting.
3. One by One
You must have seen someone around you who gathers all the vegetable on the chopping board and cuts in one go. We recommend avoiding this method.
It is best that you place one vegetable at a time on the chopping board. This technique saves you time and space as well. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting half of the time while gathering the fallen vegetables from the floor.
4. Hold the Knife Properly
It is advised that you always use your dominant hand to hold the knife. Then, grip the handle with the index finger, while placing your thumb on the blade. It should look like you are pinching the bolster with the index finger and your thumb.
5. Follow the Claw Rule
The claw prevents you from cutting your fingers and also keeps the vegetable from sliding away. To do so, with your subordinate hand, hold the food that you want to cut. Form a claw with this hand by curving your fingertips towards the palm.
6. Always Tuck in the Thumb
Keep the thumb of the subordinate hand tucked in. Also, place the knuckles of your thumb closer to the knife blade. This technique prevents injuries.
7. Cut in Half
Always cut the vegetables into two halves first. To do so, always place the flat side of the vegetable on the cutting board. This technique makes the food stay steady on the chopping board.
8. Get to Know the Chopping Styles
The cross chop is the best style for beginners, but it may produce unequal sizes of the vegetables. For better results, just place your subordinate hand on the opposite side of the dominant hand.
Another chopping style is the tap chop, which is best for chopping things into slices. For this, place the fingers of your subordinate hand on the spine of the knife. Keep your thumb away from the blade.
9. Uniform Cutting
The smaller chops are quicker to cook than the larger ones. If you are cooking the uneven sizes together, you may end with some overcooked and undercooked pieces.
10. Stay Focused
When chopping vegetables, always focus your vision on the back of the blade. Also, hold the knife in a way that it stays in a vertical position, and then, cut the slices in a single stroke.
Summing It Up
Chopping the vegetables with a knife is not difficult. All it requires is learning, regularly practicing, and applying the different techniques we discussed. You may begin at a slower speed, but once you progress, you will chop the bunch of items in no significant time.
However, if you really have no time, one of the safest options to cut vegetables or fruits is to use manual or electric choppers instead of knives. These choppers can keep your hands away from the knife or sharp blades, as well as can chop vegetables in a minute or less.