Basic Knife Skills Everyone Should Know
Cutting, chopping, and dicing are among the most common things one does in preparation for a meal. Most people know how to dice an onion… or do they? Sure, they can get the job done, but as with any skill, some methods are going to be much more efficient – and in this case, safer – than others. So, let’s get back to the basics!
Before you even start chopping, you should make sure you have everything in order. First, secure your cutting board to the counter. If you don’t have grips on the bottom of your cutting bored, you can set a damp paper towel underneath to keep it from slipping. Next, make sure you’re holding the knife right! Grip the base of the blade between your thumb and pointer finger, and then wrap your remaining fingers around the handle. This gives you the most control.
When working with knives, safety is obviously the most important thing to consider. One of the most common injuries in the kitchen is cutting the tips of fingers when using a knife. One easy way to prevent this is to grip whatever you’re cutting in a claw of sorts like shown above. This way, when the knife gets close to your hand, it won’t nip your finger tips. Rather, the flat part of the blade will bump up against your knuckle.
Let’s move on to one of the most common cuts you’ll use in the kitchen – dicing. Typlically, you’ll use this on vegetables, and more often than not, it’ll be an onion. The easiest way to dice an onion is to first chop it in half and peel it. Placing the flat side down, make horizontal cuts up the onion. Then, turn the onion and grip at the base, remembering to use your “claw” grip. Make vertical cuts into the onion. Finally, use a rocking motion with the knife to slice the onion from one end to the other. This will give you nice and even pieces when it’s all said and done!
Mincing is most commonly used on garlic, so let’s learn a quick and easy way to accomplish this task. First, smash the clove with the flat side of a knife to get the casing off. Then, grip the garlic with your “claw,” and slice it. Finally, go over the slices of garlic with your knife an a rocking motion, again and again. Anchor the tip of the knife with your other hand to create a swivel motion. Continue this until the pieces are as small as you want. The smaller something is diced, the more fragrant and flavorful the dish will be.
Watch how everything is done and learn a few more basic cuts in the video below!