Julienne is a French culinary knife cut in which food items are cut into long thin strips resembling matchsticks.
Using the julienne cut helps the food to marinate or cook much faster and evenly.
The strips are often used in stir-fries as it can also be applied to the preparation of meat or fish.
If the vegetable is to be cooked, julienning allows for a vegetable to cook rapidly and evenly, and integrate well into a mix of other ingredients.
If the vegetable is being served raw, julienning allows the cook to make a fine, delicate garnish for salads or as an ingredient on a finger food platter.
Mastering this method of slicing will not only make your presentation stand out but will also ensure more controlled cooking and adds texture and colour to your food and is a really useful skill to know.
Why Julienne Vegetables?
- Food is easier to bite and eat smaller pieces.
- Ensures different ingredients in a recipe cook quickly and evenly.
- Used to add texture to dishes, including sandwiches and wraps.
- Julienning is often used as a decorative cut to garnish various dishes such as salads or soups.
- The strips are also used as an ingredient in stir-fries salads, side dishes and soups.
Julienne Cut Size
The ideal size for these allumette, or matchstick vegetables is approximately 5 cm to 7.5 cm (2 to 3-inches) long and 0.2 cm to 0.3 cm (1⁄16 to ⅛ inch) thick.
- Standard size;
This is often used on potatoes for french fries and celery or carrot sticks.
The julienne should measure approximately 3mm (⅛ inch) × 3mm (⅛ inch) × 5 cm to 7.5 cm (2 to 3-inches) long.
The standard size is the starting point for the brunoise dice cut size.
- Fine julienne cut size;
The fine julienne cut size is often used for garnishes such as red onion on salads or when using ginger in a stir-fry.
It measures approximately 2mm (1⁄16 inch) × 2mm (1⁄16 inch) × 30 mm – 50 mm (1⁄16; inch by 1⁄16; inch by 1 – 2 inches) long.
This size is the starting point for the fine brunoise dice cut.
How To Julienne Cut
The julienne technique is used on firm vegetables such as potato, celery, carrot, peppers, turnips, parsnips, apple etc.
The traditional squaring off or shortcut methods are fine for most dense ingredients.
But how about for ones that are soft (tomatoes), hollow (capsicum/bell peppers), or layered (onions)?
Onion can be difficult to julienne owing to its layers and soft vegetables such as tomatoes can be done, but are also difficult.
While not as commonly done, there are specific techniques to julienne these items as well.
Items such as citrus peel can also be julienned.
The tools you are going to need are to julienne vegetables with a knife are;
- A sharp knife;
Use a sharp, non-serrated knife for cutting. A chopping knife works well but is not required.
It’s important to only use a sharp knife so you make nice clean cuts.
- A cutting board;
Make sure your cutting board is secure by sliding a kitchen towel underneath.
This trick keeps the board in place if your work surface becomes wet.
How to Julienne a Potato
Here is the best way to julienne potatoes and sweet potato using a chefs knife.
- Wash, scrub, and dry the potato.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the potato.
- Place the potato on a sturdy cutting board.
- Create a flat edge by cutting a slice off of the potato along the length of it.
- Cut the potato lengthwise into long slabs.
Consider your desired julienne thickness. For example, cut it into 1.5 cm (½ inch) thick long slabs.
- Stack 2 – 3 slices on top of one another and cut it into long sticks.
For example, cut the slabs into ½” thick sticks.
- If you’re cooking the sticks, 5 cm to 7.5 cm (2 to 3-inches) long is best, but if you are going to be eating the pieces raw, they can be a little longer.
- The goal with juliennes is to get them all to a fairly uniform size.
How to Julienne Tomatoes
Although done less frequently, it is in fact possible to julienne soft fruit like tomatoes and hollow vegetables like a capsicum/bell pepper.
The process requires removing all seeds and inner membranes and leaving the firm skin for easy julienning.
The goal is to separate the firm parts of the produce that can actually be julienned.
I suggest it may be better to use a vegetable knife for this method, themaller blades make it easier to move around when removing seeds and pulp.
- Remove the stem of the the tomato or pepper and wash.
- On a chopping board, quarter your tomato or capsicum/bell pepper.
- Lay each quarter skin side down.
- Taking each quarter, use your knife to cut out the inner seeds and pulp.
- Run your knife in one continuous movement, removing the flesh from seed.
- Lay the tomato skin side down, gently flatten it.
- Cut into julienne strips.
Use the fingers of your non-dominant hard to gently flatten it down while cutting.
Do this for the rest of the pieces, resulting in a pile of nicely julienned produce.
- You can always save the seedy part of the tomato for another use.
- If the ingredient is on the larger side, you may have to cut the quarters in half crosswise for a shorter stick.
How To Julienne Onions
Onions are something that can’t be julienned the traditional way.
Fortunately, because of their natural layered structure they are perfect for the thin strips of julienne.
- Remove the top and tail portions.
The stem and tail pieces aren’t needed for juliennes, so cut them off and throw them away.
- Peel off the outer skin layers of the onion so that you have just the flesh left.
- Cut the onion in half.
Since onions are generally about the size that you want julienne sticks to be lengthwise, there is no need to cut an onion into a rectangle or into chucks.
Simply cut it in half from top to bottom.
- Slice diagonally toward the center of the onion. With the onion laying flat side down, slice at an angle so that pieces stay at a uniform thickness.
As you near the halfway point, your knife should be at 90 degrees.
Flip the onion on its side and continue cutting.
- Perform the same process with the second half of the onion.
How to Julienne Carrots
Master the method of julienning carrots.
You can use this method on zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers as well.
- Prepare the carrots. Wash them, pat them dry, and peel them.
- Trim off the stem end and root tip of the carrot.
- Cut the carrots into even lengths, usually about 5 cm to 7.5 cm (2 to 3-inches) long.
- Slice off one side of each “log” to make a flat surface.
- Place the carrot down on that flat side you just made and slice the carrot into thin, 3mm (⅛ inch) “slabs.”
- Once you have several slabs, stack them on top of one another and slice through the stack to create thin, 3mm (⅛ inch) × 3mm (⅛ inch) sticks, similar to matchsticks.
How To Julienne Ginger
Let’s prepare some ginger using the fine julienne cut size.
- Peel the ginger with a paring knife or by scraping off the skin with the side of a spoon.
- Slice off one side to make a flat surface.
- Slice the ginger very thinly, approximately 2mm (1⁄16; inch) thick, lengthwise.
- Stack two or three “slices” of the ginger at a time and cut them into matchsticks.
How To Julienne Celery
Celery sticks as an appetiser or in a stir-fry, let’s cut it correctly.
- Separate the stalks.
- Wash each stalk under running water thoroughly.
- Pat dry the washed celery stalks with a kitchen paper towel or with a kitchen towel.
- Place on a cutting board and remove all the green stalk and leaves.
- Cut the celery stalks into halves or according to the length you want your sticks to be.
- Place the knife for the thickness you are aiming for and cut the stalk lengthwise into 2 or 4 even strips.
How To Julienne Cabbage
Let’s cover how to cut cabbage for coleslaw.
- If using the cabbage raw, such as in coleslaw, remove any thick and fibrous outer leaves, then rinse and pat dry well.
- Cut in half through the stem.
- Cut those halves in half again to make quarters.
- Cut the core out of each quarter.
- Lay each cabbage quarter on a flat side, and thinly slice into ribbons.
Let’s watch julienning vegetables in action.
See how to julienne properly using the methods mentioned above.
- Potatoes for french fries, from 0.00.09
- Onion for salads or garnish, from 0.01.17
- Cabbage for coleslaw, from 0.02.59
- Celery sticks for an appetiser, from 0.03.39
- Ginger for a stir-fry, from 0.04.19
- Carrot sticks for salad or appetiser, from 0.05.10
- Tomatoes for sald or garnish, from 0.06.06