Perfecting Knife Skills: A Guide


The meaning of knife skills: Knife skills are the technique of using different knives and different knife operations to cut cooking raw materials or semi-finished products into different shapes according to eating and cooking needs.
Purpose: Decompose and cut the complete raw materials into the basic shapes required for preparing dishes.
Basic requirements and functions of knife skills
1. The shape and specifications of the raw materials are neat so that they can be heated and tasted evenly. If the thickness is uneven and the thickness is uneven, it will affect the taste of the dishes.
2. Prepare tools and basic skills.
3. Pay attention to cutting according to the characteristics of the raw materials to facilitate cooking. For example, according to the fiber texture of the meat, choose different cutting directions: cut chicken parallel, cut pork diagonally, and cut beef vertically.
4. Use ingredients reasonably and cook according to different parts.


How to hold a knife correctly?
Before diving into the world of knife skills, it's crucial to learn the proper way to hold a knife. Grip the handle firmly with your dominant hand, wrapping your fingers around it. Place your thumb on the side of the blade, providing stability and control. The other hand should be used to hold the ingredient steady while cutting.

Basic Knife Skills
The basic knife technique refers to the knife technique in which the knife surface and the raw material (or chopping board surface) are always at a certain angle during the cutting process. Usually according to the size of the angle, it can be divided into three types: vertical knife method, parallel knife method and oblique knife method.

1. Vertical Knife Skill
Types: vertical cutting, push cutting, pull cutting, sawing, guillotine cutting, rolling cutting, chopping (splitting, chopping).

(1)Vertical cutting: Generally, hold the raw material firmly with your left hand and operate the knife with your right hand. When cutting, the knife hangs downward, neither pushing outward nor pulling inward, and cuts vertically.
The vertical knife cutting method is used, and dry and brittle raw materials are generally used, such as cucumbers, cabbage, potatoes, etc.

 (2)Push cutting: The knife is perpendicular to the raw material. When cutting, the knife is pushed from back to front, and the focus is on the rear of the knife. Push cutting is mainly used for raw materials with loose texture and easy to break or fall apart when cut with a straight knife, such as cooked meat, cooked eggs, etc.
(3)Pull cutting: The knife is perpendicular to the raw material. When cutting, the knife is pulled from front to back, and the focus is on the front of the knife. Slicing is suitable for raw materials with strong toughness, such as kelp, fresh meat, etc.
(4)Sawing, also called push-pull cutting: a combination of push-cutting and pull-cutting. Sawing is a knife method that is difficult to master. The sawing knife method is that the knife is perpendicular to the raw material. When cutting, push the knife forward first, and then pull it back. In this way, pushing and pulling cuts the raw material downward like a saw.
Sawing requirements
First, the speed of the knife should be slow, and the force should be small and even; second, the knife surface should be straight when pushing and pulling back and forth, not in or out; third, when cutting, hold the raw material firmly with your left hand and cannot move it, otherwise it will be too thin or too thin. Uneven; fourth, use wrist strength and the middle finger of your left hand to control the shape and thickness of the raw material.
The sawing knife method is generally used to cut thick, boneless and tough raw materials or raw materials with soft texture into thin slices, such as slices of meat.
(5)Guillotine cutting, also called "pressure cutting": Hold the handle of the knife with one hand, press the back of the knife with the other hand, and press up and down repeatedly to cut.
The guillotine cutting method is mostly used for raw materials with shells, bones, small, round and easy to slide, such as crabs, peppers, nuts, etc.

(6)Rolling cutting: Hold the raw material with one hand, and hold the knife with the other hand to cut continuously. Roll the raw material once with each cut. Cut into slices or chunks according to the rolling posture and speed of the raw materials. The general situation is that rolling fast and cutting slowly is dicing; rolling slowly and cutting fast is slicing.

The requirements of the hob cutting method are: the left hand should control the slope of rolling the raw materials at a moderate angle, and the right hand should follow the rolling of the raw materials and control the cutting at a certain slope to keep the size, thickness, etc. uniform.
The hob cutting method is mostly used for cylindrical or oval vegetable raw materials, such as radish, eggplant, zucchini, etc.
(7)Chopping: Move the knife vertically up and down on a certain part of the raw material, and repeat the knife operation many times, which requires a strong downward force when moving the knife.

2. Parallel Knife Skills
The parallel knife technique refers to a knife technique in which the blade surface is parallel to the cutting board, and the knife maintains horizontal movement. The force should be balanced and should not be light on one and heavy on the other, causing unevenness. According to the direction of force, this knife method can be divided into parallel knife vertical slices, parallel knife push slices, parallel knife pull slices, parallel knife rolling slices, etc.
The parallel knife slicing method is suitable for boneless and tender raw materials and fruits, such as tofu, bananas, avocados, etc.
(1)Vertical slicing with parallel knife: The blade of the knife is parallel to the chopping board and cuts into the raw materials. Suitable for fragile and tender ingredients, such as tofu.
(2)Pushing knife and pulling knife: Pushing knife is a blade that pushes from the inside out while slicing in parallel. It is suitable for brittle raw materials, such as vegetables, etc.; broaching knife has the opposite action and is suitable for delicate and slightly tough raw materials. , such as meat slices and fish fillets.
(3)Push-pull knife, also called "saw knife": the front part of the blade cuts into the raw material first, drags it from front to back, and then pushes it forward from back to front, pushing and pulling one after the other until the raw material is cut into pieces. It is suitable for Flexible ingredients such as bread.
(4)Rotating ingredient: means that the blade is parallel to the blade and the raw materials are rolled on the chopping board at the same time. It is suitable for slicing and shredding cylindrical plant raw materials. Such as carrots.

3. Oblique Knife Skills
The oblique knife method is a knife method in which the blade surface is at an oblique angle to the chopping board, and the knife is tilted to slice the raw materials. This slicing method can increase the area of the food piece obtained. This knife method can be divided into oblique knife pulling, oblique knife pushing and other methods according to the direction of the knife movement and the angle of the chopping board. The differences between the above methods of handling the knife are mainly reflected in: different angles of holding the knife; different amounts of force and speed; and the coordination of the left and right hands.

(1)Oblique knife pull: The blade is tilted, the back of the knife is facing outward, and the blade is inward. Apply force from the front of the knife, and while moving into the raw material pieces, pull the raw materials from the outside inward, such as fish fillets, ginger slices, avocado slices, etc.;
(2)Oblique knife push, with the blade tilted, the spine of the knife facing inward, and the edge of the blade facing outward. Apply force from the middle and rear of the knife. When entering the raw materials, roll from the inside out to cut the raw materials, such as cucumber slices, carrot slices, etc.


What are the basic knife cuts?
1. Julienne
The julienne cut is a technique used to create long, thin strips of vegetables or fruits. To achieve this cut, start by trimming the ends of the ingredient and creating a rectangular shape. Then, slice the ingredient into thin, uniform strips. The julienne cut is commonly used in stir-fries, salads, and garnishes.
2. Brunoise
The brunoise cut involves dicing ingredients into small, uniform cubes. To achieve this cut, start by creating a julienne cut. Then, stack the strips together and cut them into small cubes. The brunoise cut is often used for ingredients that need to be cooked quickly, such as onions, carrots, and celery.
3. Chiffonade
The chiffonade cut is a technique used to slice leafy greens or herbs into thin, delicate ribbons. To achieve this cut, stack the leaves together, roll them tightly, and slice across the roll. The chiffonade cut is commonly used for garnishing soups, salads, and pasta dishes.
4. Mince
Mincing is a technique used to finely chop ingredients into tiny pieces. To achieve this cut, start by finely dicing the ingredient. Then, use a rocking motion with the knife to chop the ingredient into even smaller pieces. Mincing is often used for garlic, ginger, and herbs.
5. Slice
Slicing is a basic knife cut that involves cutting ingredients into thin, even pieces. To achieve this cut, simply cut the ingredient into thin, uniform slices. Slicing is commonly used for fruits, vegetables, and meats.

How to maintain and sharpen your knives?
Proper knife maintenance is essential for longevity and optimal performance. Here are a few tips:
Handwashing: Always wash your knives by hand with mild soap and warm water. Avoid putting them in the dishwasher, as it can damage the blade.
Storage: Store your knives in a knife block or on a magnetic strip to protect the blades and prevent accidents.
Sharpening: Regularly sharpen your knives using a sharpening stone or honing rod to maintain their sharpness. A sharp knife is safer and more efficient.

Why invest in high-quality knives?
Investing in high-quality knives is a wise decision for any serious cook. They offer superior performance, durability, and precision. With proper care, a good knife can last a lifetime. Remember, a chef is only as good as their tools!

Knife skills are the foundation of culinary expertise. By mastering the art of precision cutting, you can enhance your cooking abilities, save time in the kitchen, and elevate your dishes to a whole new level. Remember to practice proper knife techniques, maintain your knives regularly, and invest in high-quality tools. Happy cooking!

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