There are many knife cutting techniques out there but today, I will be showing you how to make the rondelle cut and other basic knife skills which are bound to improve your food preparation skills. Using different cuts of carrots works great in elevating normal everyday dishes. Yes, I do agree, some of these cuts can look intimidating, but trust me, it is not as difficult as it may seem or look. Transform the appearance, texture, look, and even taste of your dishes with these cuts!!
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Rondelle Cut + Other Basic Knife Skills
Time needed: 5 minutes.
As a beginner chef or home cook, I would say you do not need to worry so much about the cutting speed at the beginning, just keep a steady hand. You can always work on improving the speed once you get the hang of it. There are many cutting techniques out there, but these basic or classic knife skills can easily be mastered. Some, such as the rondelle cut, are commonly used at home and in restaurants.
- Rondelle cut
This is actually one of my favourite knife techniques. The word Rondelle means round and is usually used to cut conical or cylindrical vegetables and fruits such as carrots, zucchini, cucumbers and bananas. Rondelles are similar to coins. If you ask me, I would say you have made a rondelle cut at least once, when cutting carrots at home. There isn't an exact dimension but a good middle ground is between one ⅛ and ½ an inch thick. Here is a recipe with rondelle cut carrots.
Step by step:
First, place your vegetable or fruit on a chopping board.
Next, proceed on to hold your knife perpendicular to the vegetable and make even- sized, slices. Leave a small space between each cut if you want to have thin slices and increase the space for bigger slices.
For oval rondelle cuts, hold your knife at a 45-degree angle.
TIP: When making rondelle cuts, consistency in the thickness of each cut is key.
This technique is mostly used with herbs or leafy vegetables to give you thinly sliced ribbons. It is commonly used in Kenya to cut collard greens, which go by the name Sukumawiki in Swahili.
To make a chiffonade cut, pile the herbs or leaves on top of each other. Roll them towards the top, in a motion similar to rolling a cigar then hold the roll firmly using your palms and make thin ribbon slices.
- Oblique cut (or roll cut)
This is used to cut cylindrical-shaped vegetables such as carrots, zucchini and parsnips. It works well when glazing as there is a greater surface area for the glaze to stick to. Just like with the rondelle cut, you want to keep the sizes similar. For learning purposes, I will use the good ol' carrot as an example.
To start with, lay the carrot on the chopping board parallel to you and trim off the ends. Lay your knife at a 45-degree angle and make a cut. Turn the carrot over at a 90 degree towards, then make another cut at a 45-degree angle. The process should proceed like cut then turn, repeated until the whole carrot has been chopped. A bird's eye view should show the carrots somewhat resembling triangles.
- Julienne cut
The julienne cut is a more advanced knife skill. It resembles matchsticks and is mostly used for carrots and peppers. Julienne cut vegetables can be used in stir-fries, spring rolls and salads. To julienne a carrot, cut it into 2-inch portions. Take each portion and slice the edges to create a flat base. Slice lengthwise, to get slices each ⅛ thick (3 mm). Cut each slice lengthwise so you end up with matchsticks.
- Brunoise (fine dice)
This one is slightly challenging (more thorough and time-consuming), but, when have we ever run away from a challenge? Ha!
First, trim off the ends of the vegetable. Trim and cut the carrot into 2-inch (5cm) portions then slice the edges of each portion, so it is not curved. You want to attain a rectangle.
Next, you want to use a firm motion to cut the rectangle. Slice it lengthwise, maintaining a thickness of ⅛ inch (about 3mm). Lay the slices on top of each other and apply the same technique, until you end up with very fine slices.
Use a mince cut on ingredients such as onion, garlic and ginger. To mince ginger, peel it then lay the blade of your knife on top of it. Using your palm, make a slap to smash it open. It is simple and easily could count as one of the basic knife skills.
Use a rocking motion to slice. Turn the slices and cut again until tiny.
Batonnet cuts basically resemble sticks. To cut a carrot batonnet style, peel and slice it then cut it into portions, each approximately 2 ½ inches long. Slice the edges to obtain a square. Cut the square lengthwise, with each cut ½ an inch thick.
I would say start with a batonnet cut if you are not too advanced. It is great for practicing!! Additionally, once you have mastered doing this cut, you can make julienne cuts from the little sticks or batonnets!
- To start with, always make sure your chopping board is secure before you start cutting to prevent knife injuries. You can secure the chopping board by placing a non-stick mat or wet paper towel underneath it.
- Hold your knife properly, taking care not to hold too far back. Your grip should be somewhere in the middle.
- Avoid holding your food flat. Instead, hold them at a claw-like angle. This will protect your fingertips in case of an accident. The bent knuckles act like a shield.
Let me know in the comment section, what is your favourite basic knife skill?
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