Great knife skills are an essential to having a great time in the kitchen. Good knife skills form the basis of everything you’re going to be doing in the kitchen, from chopping, dicing, slicing and more. In this post we’re going to show you how to master some great knife skills for everyday cooking tasks.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a pro chef to be able to master these knife skills. But, it does help to keep practicing these techniques each time you use a knife. Furthermore, it helps to have a different knife for different tasks in the kitchen. Check out our range of amazing knives, each designed for a specific task.
Have a secure cutting board
First, things first. Always make sure that you’re using a chopping board that is secure. A cutting board that is wobbly or slippery can lead to injury and a rather unpleasant experience in the kitchen.
You should make use of a chopping board that has grips underneath. And if you don’t have one of those, a quick fix is to put a damp paper cloth under the cutting board. This will prevent the board from slipping and moving around as you work.
The best knife grip
The next thing that you want to master and always remember is to use the best knife grip when you’re going about your cutting, dicing or slicing.
If you’re putting your finger on top of the knife, if you’re having a loose grip or if you’re holding too far back, then you’re doing it all wrong.
You want to make sure that you put your finger and your thumb at the back of the knife’s blade, wrapping your fingers around the handle.
Don’t worry about it feeling uncomfortable at first, with time you’ll get used to it and you’ll be gripping your knife like a pro.
The most common mistake that people make when using a knife is to lay their fingers flat across the chopping board. Don’t worry, we also did this so don’t feel bad. But your fingers are in real danger of being injured or completely chopped off as you cut using this technique.
What you actually want to be doing is forming a claw with your fingers so that they go inward and the knife hits against your knuckles as you’re chopping and dicing. Using this claw technique, your fingers will be protected all the time and it also gives you added stability and support as you chop along.
The slicing motion
The other common mistake that we see people making is the slicing motion. If you chop straight down, you’re not really going to be getting a nice even cut.
You really want to do a rocking motion with the knife’s blade, going back and forth with the knife. Think of it as riding a wave in the ocean.
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Next we’ll be showing you some of the common knife cuts that can be found in recipes. The key here is to remember the claw.
Let’s start off with a dice. Onions are probably the most common thing that you’re going to dice when you’re following a recipe. So first cut it in half right through the root end of the onion. Next, peel the outer layers making sure that the root end is still intact.
Tip: When dicing make sure the flat side is facing down. This will give you added stability when using your knife.
Using your claw grip, make a few incisions horizontally into the onion. Then turn the onion towards you with the root side furthest away. Make a few vertical cuts using your clawed fingers. Turn the onion again and use your knuckles as a guide, chopping along with the rocking wave motion.
The next common cut that we’re going to show you is mincing. The most common ingredient that you’ll be mincing is garlic. Begin by removing the root end using your claw. The next step is to place the garlic under the blade of your knife and then smash down on the knife. The garlic skin should fall right off.
Then using that clawed finger, use the same wave motion to mince the garlic until finely minced.
Tip: The finer the mince, the more flavourful your meal is going to be.
The next cut that we’re going to be showing you is the julienne. This type of cut is most commonly used with carrots and zucchini, but you can do it with all sorts of things. To julienne a carrot, you need to cut it into 5cm pieces or segments.
To start, you need to create a flat base. Once you’ve cut it off, put the flat part of the carrot facing downward on the cutting board so that you’ve got more stability. Now make about 3mm slices and stack the carrots up like a tower. Again, make equal 3mm slices down.
Now that you know the proper way to hold and use your knife, you’ll be better equipped in the kitchen. Keep these simple techniques in mind the next time you’re using a knife in your cooking.
Sure, at first these techniques may seem uncomfortable and unpractical, but the only way to master them is to keep practicing. Before you know it, these tricks will be second nature to you.
Think of it as learning a new habit, also it will keep you from chopping off your fingers.