When it comes to terminology and chopping methods, newbies who are unfamiliar with the industry often find culinary jargon to be particularly perplexing.
What does it mean to be roughly chopped? Cutting components into 1/2- or 3/4-inch pieces is referred to as coarsely chopping. Any food can be sliced into coarse pieces, however the sizes will vary based on what you are cutting. Presentation and overall look may not matter because components that need to be cooked typically require a coarse chop. Learn more about this method of cutting, how to chop food coarsely, and a few other useful tips by reading on!
The Coarse Chop — Explained
In the field of culinary arts, there are many different cutting methods, but the coarse chop is likely the most well-known and frequently employed method. Simply said, when a recipe instructs you to “coarse chop,” you should coarsely slice the components into equidistant, little pieces.
Ingredients are typically utilized in coarsely chopped form while cooking, therefore their look is unimportant because they will be rendered by the heat. The types of components that typically require a coarse cut are nuts, onions, chiles, and vegetables.
These meals must be sliced into manageable pieces since they are either bigger or denser, which makes them easier to handle and cook evenly. Consider this: in order to caramelize an onion for a recipe, you would want to chop it evenly.
You can wind up with a jumble that has half-burnt and half-raw onions if the pieces are not equal or if you cut the onions improperly. Food can be chopped coarsely in a variety of ways; some prefer to follow the 1/2- or 3/4-inch rule strictly, while others prefer to wing it.
Everyone develops their own understanding of this adaptable chopping technique, but repetition is the key to mastering a coarse chop. So, how does one slice food coarsely? Let’s look at some simple fundamentals.
The Components Of A Coarse Chop
The coarse chopping method necessitates the use of a high-quality knife above everything else. Remember that your goal is to cut food as finely as possible – this can be a nightmare if you don’t have the correct instruments and skill!
Choosing Your Knife
Above all things, a coarse chop calls for a knife you are accustomed to using. People’s tendency to copy others is likely the main cause of cutting method failure. Many manuals and internet videos demonstrate how to use sharp cutting blades for cooking. However, the truth is that not many people, especially beginners, can wield a professional knife!
We urge you to reject the “mainstream” option and opt for something more practical. You will naturally want to move up to a bigger knife once you develop an intuitive feel for a particular size. Although there are various knives available, we advise getting a straight-cutting knife that best suits your needs.
If you already have a set of knives in your kitchen, we advise that you experiment with them to see which size is ideal for your current level of ability. You may, however, order a knife set online if you don’t already have one. However, we advise you to head to a nearby kitchen accessory shop and test out every product until you find one that suits your needs.
Sharpening Your Knife
Sharpness is crucial – you can’t obtain a coarse chop unless your knife is sharpened! Working with a blunt knife might result in uneven chops or, worse, injury if the knife slips off smooth-skinned foods like tomatoes. Make sure to have your knives sharpened by a professional, or invest in a compact knife sharpening kit, such as this one. You can proceed to the following step once your cutting tool has been sufficiently sharpened.
Gripping Your Knife
You must have perfect control of the blade to chop coarsely. For this reason, you should place your fingers nearer the knife’s heel rather than the edge of the handle. The 3-finger grip method is the most effective way to accomplish this, but we’ll also go through some alternative approaches.
3-Finger Grip Method
The thumb and index fingers are used to grip the top (blunt side) of the blade while the middle, ring, and pinky fingers rest on the handle. As a result of your ability to control exactly where and how the blade lands, this technique is great for chopping food coarsely.
You are certainly free to attempt any other strategy, but for beginners, we advise practicing this one since it is frequently the simplest to master. Never continue using a chopping method that doesn’t suit you, please!
Cooking should be enjoyable, therefore if you find it difficult to hold the knife in a specific position, you can adjust how you hold it as long as you are safe and your wrist is stable.
Handle Grip Method
Another simple way to hold the knife is with the handle grip. This approach provides more precision and vertical control. Vertical control refers to cutting food using an up-and-down motion rather than a rocking or sliding action, which is frequent with the 3-finger grip approach.
This method needs you to grip the knife handle with all of your fingers. Instead of gripping the handle’s edge, bring your grip closer to the heel of the blade. This is an excellent alternative for those who are uncomfortable touching the blade utilizing the grasping approach described above.
Is it the most effective and efficient method? Not entirely, but it will do the job and help you develop intuition so that you may raise your game and use other favored cutting approaches.
What about your other hand, the one that will hold the food? We’ve talked a lot about where to place your main hand. You must hold the food with a secure grip that is comfortable for you in order to chop it coarsely. For a safer and more effective coarse chop, we advise use the claw technique!
The claw gripping technique secures your fingers by bringing them into your palm rather than leaving them exposed to the blade. It involves forming a claw over the surface of what you are cutting.
Please remember that any chop, regardless of how coarse or small, demands holding the knife extremely close to your fingertips. Make sure your fingers and hand will be protected from the blade before you begin chopping. Place the tips of your fingers over the food to create a claw.
You can also rest your fingers on the tips of your fingernails to create this grasping shape. This will prevent any skin from being cut if the blade lands on your fingers and slides off the fingernails. Just remember to avoid using your nails to pierce the food, as that is very unclean!
Coarsely Chopping Different Foods
It’s time to coarsely chop some ingredients now that you’ve got a decent grasp on your knife! Depending on what you’re cutting, a coarse chop may necessitate slightly varied knife movements and cutting shapes. Here are some typical ingredients and instructions for coarsely chopping them!
Onions require a motion that is either straight up and down, sliding, or rocking. Food of this semi-hard variety can be diced or sliced. You can proceed with either the slice or cube shape if the recipe only specifies that you should coarsely chop an onion.
Here is a quick tutorial on chopping onions coarsely:
Peeling and chopping the onion in half are the first steps in doing this.
Either use two halves of the onion, or cut it further into four pieces. A full onion should be sliced into four pieces for easier handling.
Place the onion half so that it may lay flat on its own by resting it at the base.
Bring the knife down vertically on the onion now and start slicing it, from from one side to the other.
Slices don’t have to be incredibly thin. You should be able to make equal-sized cubes with a 1/4-inch cut.
After slicing the onion laterally, turn the knife or cutting board and cut it in the opposite direction to create small cubes.
Have you noticed how every piece is the exact same size and shape? Well, this will enable them to cook in the pot fast and evenly.
Make a horizontal cut down the middle of the divided onion before cutting it if you want to be even more accurate (this is properly referred to as “dicing”). This process will result in even smaller cubes!
Nuts And Seeds
When it comes to harder and denser foods, such as nuts and seeds, you’ll need to tweak your cutting technique slightly. To coarsely chop nuts, follow the same procedure as above, breaking them up (if possible) into smaller and more manageable bits. Consider the case of a walnut, which can be halved.
Place the halved walnut on a cutting board and start slicing it in the centre. Then, using the claw approach, hold down the item and begin slicing it into small pieces. You should end up with equal-sized or granular particles that all appear the same. If you come across any huge bits, simply trim them to the same size as the remaining pieces.
Vegetables are a good example of a larger food that may be altered to suit your recipe needs. You may have noted that we chopped the components listed above into small bits, but for larger veggies, the term “coarsely cut” can indicate something else.
For instance, if a recipe calls for coarsely chopped potatoes, you can either cut the potatoes into small chunks or choose a finer chop and “dice” the potatoes to create little cubes.
You can just cut the potato into pieces that are 1/4- or 3/4-inch in size for a standard coarse chop. Referring to a picture or the presentation notes of the finished meal is a terrific idea because most recipes display the food in its finished form, allowing you to make an educated guess as to how small the pieces should be.
Tomatoes And Other Vegetables
Tomatoes are simple to work with and can be finely chopped by halving a whole tomato and then halving the pieces again. Once you’ve got four 1/4-inch pieces, chop them into even smaller equal-sized pieces — and you’ve got yourself some coarsely chopped tomatoes! If the recipe asks for it, you can go even finer, but keep the presentation of the finished meal in mind.
If there are no visible tomato bits in the image, this indicates that the tomatoes need to be sliced into smaller cubes before being cooked to a paste. We recommend that you use the same approaches that we have outlined above for different vegetables. You can use these strategies to almost any vegetable!
Herbs (Garlic, Leafy Herbs, Etc.)
You can chop based on the relative sizes of the items for smaller ingredients like garlic or other herbs. Unless it’s necessary for presentation, you don’t need to discuss the specifics of the cut’s size. As long as they are all the same size and can cook uniformly, ingredients that need a coarse chop for cooking can be chopped in any way.
Only when food must be finely chopped for recipes like salads, which preserve the natural shapes of the vegetables, should you be concerned about presentation.
Coarsely chopping ingredients will help you make superior recipes that not only taste wonderful but are also evenly cooked, leaving no raw food behind! Now that you understand what coarsely chopping is and how to utilize it, consider the following questions.
What is the difference between “coarsely chopped” and “julienne cut”?
Food that has been coarsely chopped is cut into smaller bits, and food that has been julienned is cut into thin stick-like shapes. The coarse chopping method is employed in regular cooking, whereas the julienne cut is a common cutting method for improving food presentation. Have you ever seen stick-like bits of ginger garnished over food? That is an excellent example of a julienne cut!
Can you coarsely chop food using a food processor?
Yes. Using a food processor is an excellent substitute for cutting food by hand if you don’t want to take the time. The components can be divided up into equal bits using the food processor. Please be mindful of the speed and duration while using the food processor; if you process food for too long, the result will be a paste. Always check the size of the pieces before continuing and begin with a 3-5 second pulse.
Can you coarsely chop meat?
Yes. Meats such as bacon, poultry, and beef can be roughly chopped rather than minced. The cutting process for meat will be the same, with equal-sized pieces of a large piece of meat required. Meat that has been coarsely chopped will cook more evenly and thoroughly.