For anyone who’s a keen cook, a big part of cooking is preparing the ingredients to go in the dish. Of course, you can pick them up from the supermarket ready-prepared, but this costs more and takes away from the experience of cooking from scratch. This means that for anyone with a passion for food, learning to chop, slice, and dice ingredients with speed, ready to put into a recipe is of the utmost importance.
The good news is that preparing foods, from herbs and vegetables to meat and fish is much easier than you would think. It’s just a case of understanding how to use your kitchen tools properly, from your knives to your food processor, to ensure that your ingredients are properly prepared and ready for you to cook with. With that in mind, below are some handy cheats that will get you preparing food like a pro.
What tools are a kitchen must-have?
To be able to prepare ingredients like a pro, having the right tools is a must. So if you don't’ already have a selection of tools for preparing your food with, it could be time to do some investing. The question is, what does every kitchen need?
A quality set of knives and a knife sharpener are kitchen essentials. If you watch any professional chef prepare their food, you will notice that they always use quality knives, like the ones that Kamikoto create. Top chefs don’t settle for any old tools; they ensure that they have access to the very best pieces of kit, and so should you.
No cooking enthusiast should be without a food processor. Sure, some people see using a food processor as cheating but it’s not, it can actually be an incredibly useful tool to have in the kitchen, as it can really help to speed food preparation up.
What are the best methods for preparing food?
Mincing: Mincing vegetables and herbs, from garlic and basil to ginger and onion, helps to infuse flavor into the entire dish. There are various ways that you can mince herbs and vegetables; you can use a garlic crusher to mince garlic, for instance, while you can use a fork to mince larger ingredients, like onions. All you do is press the fork down onto the vegetable until it splits into pieces, then turn the fork the other way around and do it again - simple.
Julienning: This type of vegetable preparation means slicing the vegetables into long, thin batons. This cutting technique is actually much easier than it seems, it’s just a case of getting the movement and angle just right.
Chopping: Adding chopped vegetables to a range of different dishes can help to not only add flavor but also to change up the texture of the dish. When it comes to chopping vegetables, there’s a different method for each vegetable. Take onions, for instance, peel off the skin, chop off the neck of the onion and slice it lengthways down the middle. You can then place the flat surface down and slice each half following the natural shape of the onion's layers.
Dicing: For adding a little extra texture to your dishes, dicing is the perfect way to prepare ingredients for your food. And it’s easier than you would think, you use the same process as chopping, you just continue to cut the vegetable into smaller and smaller pieces, until you are happy with the size of them.
There you have it, a cheat sheet for preparing ingredients like a pro.