Chop Cooking Definition
The definition of chop in cooking is the process of cutting foods into large non-uniform pieces.
Onions, carrots, sweet peppers, celery, tomatoes, and potatoes are all examples of foods that are coarsely chopped to be added to stews, casseroles, soups and salads.
This can include meat, vegetables and fruit.
If you are looking for the meat “chops”, see Lamb-Chops or Pork-Chops for more information,
Cooking times impact how quickly the size of the chopped food will cook, which is why it’s important to chop approximately to the size called for in the recipe.
Chop vs Dice
The c chop cut differs from a dice cut by its larger-sized cut.
There are precise requirements for the cooking terms chop and dice, and they all relate to size.
Chopping creates chunks that are similar in size, but not necessarily exact in shape, while dicing requires precision and uniform pieces.
Most of the time a recipe calls for a certain size to keep the cooking time or flavour consistent.
For example, if you chop an onion when the recipe calls for a dice, chances are the onion will not cook as the recipe intended.
Some recipes may even specify an ingredient be roughly chopped or finely chopped.
A rough or coarse chop means larger chunks of about 20mm/¾ inch, while a fine chop is much smaller at 7mm/¼ inch.
If not stated in the recipe, chopped ingredients can be anywhere from 13mm/½ inch to 20 mm/¾ inch pieces.
Chopping yields one of the largest size pieces and is used in many recipes.
It’s a good cut to use when making dishes that cook awhile, like stews, soups, and stocks.
Dicing is more uniform than chopping.
The size is also somewhat smaller. Imagine the diameter of a pea (but squared).
Dicing is usually called for in a recipe where an ingredient is to be sautéed for short periods of time or eaten raw, as in salsa.
Pay attention to these terms, because they make sure that the food you are about to cook will cook at the same time and in the correct amount of time.
Here we cover chopping vegetables with a knife.
If you're struggling to chop food safely and efficiently, ensure that you're using the right tools (like a good cutting board and sharp chef's knife).
Learn how to hold the knife correctly and use the right chopping technique.
- Cutting Board
- Sharp Chef's Knife
- Start by preparing a surface for cutting. Use a clean table and make sure that the cutting board stays in its place by sitting it on a damp tea towel.
- Next place one vegetable on the cutting board.
With your non-dominant hand, hold the vegetable firmly in place with the surface of your nails pointing toward and parallel to the blade.
Make sure that your nails are closer to the blade than the skin of your fingers.
- With your cutting hand, firmly grasp the knife at the handle keeping your index finger and thumb at either side of the upper part of the blade or your index finger on top of the blade in order to ensure stability.
Make sure your fingers cannot slide under the blade.
- Look at the knife from above focusing your vision on neither side of the knife, but rather on the back of the blade.
- Now move the knife to the right side of the vegetable, keeping it parallel to your nails.
- Next, using your lower arm, tilt the blade, so that the upper edge of the knife eventually touches the cutting board.
- Start cutting in mid air by thrusting the handle down, keeping the upper edge of the blade steadily attached to the cutting board.
Do not move your knife in any other direction other than around the axis of the upper blade.
The motion should look similar to that of a paper cutter, although for greater speeds the upper edge of the blade may slide back and forth along the cutting board.
- With your non-dominant hand, move the vegetable toward the knife.
- Then carefully synchronize the raising of the knife with the approach of the vegetable from the left.
- Cut straight and try to be consistent when sizing the vegetable.
- When finished with one vegetable, repeat the process for the next one.
Here's some helpful tips for your chopping experience.
- Never slide vegetables of a cutting board using the edge of the blade. Turn the knife around to increase its lifetime.
- For spring leek toppings, cut using scissors just above the plate.
- Garlic can be minced with the side of the blade before cutting to increase aroma.
- It is safer to cut vegetables with a sharp knife rather than a blunt knife. A blunt knife is more likely to slip out of your grip and hurt you while a sharp knife cuts cleanly through the vegetable.
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How to chop using a food processor
Scott Aaronson, a professional private chef for over 18 years, shows us how to chop using a food processor!
Obviously you will get better results hand chopping anything versus a machine, but if you’re not confident wit a knife, this is the way to go.