Cooking With Chef Sian: Cutting It Up

A Dicey Matter

If you have ever seen a recipe and wondered, what the difference was between chopped and diced you should read this. The way you cut your foods before final preparation not only affects the final appearance of the dish. It can also have a great deal of impact on quantities used and the finished flavor of your dish. The smaller your cut the more  your vessel holds. 

Tastefull Speaking

As an inexperienced cook, one of the thing I used to wonder is, does it matter how I chop it as long as I use the right amount?  Well, imagine biting into  something like the conch salad pictured below and encountering a large chunk of raw onion, instead of the finely chopped pieces the recipe calls for.

The same holds true for cooked dishes too.  The flavor of many ingredients, sweet and savory are released when it is cut/ chopped into smaller pieces. Whether it’s served cooked or raw, a smaller cut will yield more flavors from your ingredients and result in a more robust, better flavored dish.

flaked saltfish and fixins for cook-up saltfish
cutting herbs and veggies into smaller pieces before sauteeing is a guaranteed way to release flavors and natural juices. The same holds true for making soups. The smaller you cut your soup ingredients, the richer, more flavorful your soup will be.

Appearance is everything

One of the things I have come to appreciate as a chef is that ‘chicken is chicken’ No matter where in the world you are, A piece of chicken fish or even a potato are the same regardless of where in the world you are. Different preparations and presentations though could means the difference between mom’s home cooking and a gourmet meal.

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