The basic cutting techniques

The basic cutting techniques

  • 8 August 2020
When a recipe specifies how to cut an ingredient, it is important to follow the instructions because using the proper cutting technique will affect the dishes cooking time and will help ensure the food cooks more evenly and maximizes flavour.

If you are just starting out as a home cook, you might not understand some of the cutting terms on a recipe card, like julienne, minced or diced. Here are some of the most commonly used knife cutting techniques you will come across in our recipes. We’ve also attached a video for each to help you see exactly how it’s done.

Mince


Mincing an ingredient means cutting it into very small, fine pieces, so it becomes almost a paste. Garlic, ginger and herbs are the ingredients that are often minced in a recipe. The finer you mince, the more flavourful your dish will be because mincing helps release flavour and disperse it throughout a dish. For example, by mincing garlic, you release more flavour and aroma than if you were to chop it up into bigger pieces.



Chop


To chop means to cut something up into irregular sized pieces. Some recipes may specify if an ingredient should be roughly chopped or finely chopped. Chopping is a quick and easy technique because you don’t need to worry about uniformity - i.e. making sure the pieces are all exactly the same size. Chopping is used for many recipes, like soups and stews.



Dice


Unlike chopping, diced ingredients should be uniform in size. Usually, the required size of pieces is displayed in the recipe instructions or ingredient list. It is a more precise technique than chopping.



Cube


To cube means to cut into cube-shaped uniform pieces, that are usually bigger than a dice. It is important when we want something to cook evenly, for example, cubed vegetables for roasting.



Slice


To slice means to cut into thin, pieces of uniform thickness. Slicing is used often, from slicing chicken breast for a stir fry, to cucumbers for a salad to slicing a loaf of bread. Although slicing most foods is pretty straightforward, some prove difficult, for example like sliced onion:



Julienne


To julienne vegetables means to cut them into long thin strips, in the shape of a matchstick. It is often used for carrots, courgettes, and other veggies that will be eaten raw in salads, or for dishes when the ingredients need to be cooked quickly, like a stir-fry.