We’ve all seen those people on shows like MasterChef chopping onions, herbs, chillies, veggies, fruit (ok — we think you get the point now) without even looking down to be sure there isn’t a finger in the way and immediately wonder, “How difficult can that really be?”.
Then off to the kitchen we go, we grab our knife and
victim veg, and realise that we serious have zero knife skills. Seriously, zero.
Well, the good news is that we’re not alone. Those of us who are mere mortals may lack the training that enables us to chop for days, but it’s actually pretty easy to learn some decent knife skills.
Just remember that you’re playing with sharps toys here, so take it slow and steady and you’ll be chopping and slicing like a pro in no time!
How to chop a chilli
If you want to include the seeds, simply slice diagonally. Otherwise, slice the chilli in half length-ways, scrape out the seeds and membrane, then cut off the stalk. If you’re looking for a super fine dice, slice the chilli halves lengthways into strips, then bundle the strips together and dice.
How to prepare ginger
The easiest way to prep ginger is to peel it, then grate using a fine grater to make an instant puree. To cut ginger into strips, slice it into rounds, cut off the edges, and slice into thin strips. Use it like this in stir-fries, or bundle the strips together and chop into a fine dice.
How to chop herbs
This is one of those knife skills we should all learn!
Leafy herbs like mint, basil and sage, can be rolled together and sliced. For other herbs, pick the leaves off the stems and pile on a board. Hold the handle and top of the knife and chop roughly — or finely if required — while moving the blade across the herbs.
How to chop an onion
OK — not quite like that! Rather cut the onion in half and peel the skin off. Put 1 half, flat side down, on a board and slice thinly. To dice, cut in half, then make vertical cuts across the width of the onion, but not through the root. Now slice across for the perfect small dice.
How to prepare tomatoes
Make a cross in the bottom of each tomato and plunge them into boiling water for 30 seconds. Carefully remove them from the boiling water and put them into a bowl of ice-cold water for 30 seconds. Remove and gently peel away each piece of skin that has started to peel back. Cut into quarters, remove the seeds and dish the flesh, if you need to.
Read more: How to make the best tomato sauce
How to prepare garlic
To peel garlic, quickly bash the clove with the flat side of a knife blade, then discard the skin. Add this whole garlic straight to casseroles. sauces and even roasts. If you want a puree, slice away the root and peel back the skin, then grate the clove with a fine grater.
Read more: 11 kitchen hacks every beginner should know