If you’re a kitchen newbie, terms such as “chop coarse” and “chop fine” may confuse you.
What does coarsely chopped mean? What does it mean to cut finely?
We’ll go over the answers to these and other related questions to help you better understand cutting terms and, hopefully, become a better cook.
What Are the Basic Chopping and Knife Safety Techniques?
Now before we get into what coarse chopping really means, let’s first sift through the many different chopping techniques you’ll need to master in the kitchen.
Let’s then follow that up with some safety tips for handling sharp edges.
Eight Common Chopping Methods
There’s actually a total of eight ways to chop, and they are:
1. Cross Chop
This is a go-to method for chefs and cooks who need to chop something up real quick.
It’s a technique that doesn’t pay mind to the presentation.
It is usually employed for cutting herbs or vegetables.
To do this correctly, you simply need to hold the knife’s handle with one hand.
Then, place the palm of your other hand on top of the blade.
This allows you to control the chopping pace and movement easily.
The tip of the blade should also be kept down while you lift the knife handle. This ensures that your hands aren’t in the blade’s way.
2. Rock Chop
Like the cross chop method, the rock chop also requires you to hold the blade's handle with one hand while keeping its tip down.
Instead of moving the knife, this time around, you move the ingredients.
Keep the blade still while you carefully push the food item forward.
3. Julienne Cut
With a slice thickness that ranges from 1mm to 2mm, the julienne cut is super fine.
After cutting your veggies into thin, rectangular-shaped cuts, slice them again using the “fine slice” method to create slim matchstick shapes.
The julienne cut is often done for carrots, celery, and potatoes.
Once you’ve mastered this chopping art, you’ll have no trouble prepping ingredients neatly and finely.
It also paves the way for learning other chopping methods that use the julienne as their initial step.
4. Brunoise Dice
Once you have the julienne down pat, you can move on to this particular chopping method.
It requires you to dice “julienned” ingredients to create tiny cubes.
Ideally, the cube should be 2mm on each side.
This technique is known as the tiniest dicing cut and is usually used for soups.
After mastering the julienne, master the brunoise dice so that you can really start impressing in the kitchen.
5. Small Dice
With a cube size measuring 3mm on each side, which is bigger than the brunoise dice, the small dice technique can be a bit deceiving.
It starts with the julienne technique, followed by dicing ingredients into slightly larger cubes than the brunoise.
There may only be a one-millimeter difference between the brunoise and small dice techniques, but it’s crucial to get them right.
6. The Batonnet
The name pretty much says it all. This method involves cutting vegetables into a baton shape.
Think about a chip cut, but only chunkier. Ideally, the cuts should be six millimeters on all sides and have continuity to look professional.
7. The Baton
The batonnet and baton techniques are quite different. While the batonnet focuses on creating cube-shaped ingredients, the baton method works for delivering larger dices.
For the baton, diced ingredients should measure 12x12x6cm.
Chefs don’t often use this technique, but it’s still a good one to have in handy.
8. Pont Neuf
This is a technique for chopping potatoes every cook needs to master.
After skinning and washing your potatoes, cut them to measure 2cm x 7cm. This will give you the perfect chunky chip shape.
Important Knife Safety Practices
Safety practices are a must when handling anything sharp.
Here’s the most common things that you need to keep in mind when using kitchen knives.
- Always focus on what you’re doing.
- Never cut on an uneven or wobbly surface.
- Use the best knife for the job. Using the wrong kind of knife for a particular task can be dangerous.
- Sharpen your knives regularly. Dull knives can be dangerous to use.
- Always keep the tip of the knife pointed downward and the sharp edge facing away from you.
What’s Coarsely Chopped?
In which of the eight methods discussed were the ingredients chopped coarsely?
Let’s first answer the question: What does coarsely chopped mean?
The Basic Definition
Rough or coarse chop means that a food item is chopped into chunks measuring about three-quarters of an inch.
These are slightly larger than “chopped” ingredients, which typically measure half an inch in length.
Rough chopping also means that the pieces don’t necessarily need to be equal in size.
Steps on Coarsely Chopping Ingredients
What’s coarsely chopped in the context of other food items?
Coarsely chopped nuts measure about a quarter of an inch or larger.
This is twice as large as regularly chopped nuts, which measure a sixteenth of an inch.
It is only slightly larger than medium-chopped nuts, which are about three-eighths of an inch.
Remember that coarsely chopped nuts are completely different from their finely chopped alternatives.
Finely chopped nuts are usually no bigger than grains of salt.
You can also take fine chopping nuts further by using a blender or food processor.
In this way, you can create finely ground nuts, which have about the same consistency as flour.
To coarsely chop spinach means to cut it into tiny pieces approximately a quarter of an inch in diameter.
Again, the pieces don’t need to be exactly of the same size.
Recipes that call for spinach to be chopped coarsely are generally just telling you to cut them into slightly larger pieces than usual.
While minced onions measure about an eighth of an inch per piece, coarsely chopped onions measure one-half to three-quarters of an inch per piece.
How do you coarsely chop onions? As far as vegetables frequently “chopped coarsely” are concerned, onions are right up there with celery and carrots.
So, let’s have a look at how onions are coarsely chopped correctly.
Step #1: Lay the Onion Bare
The first thing you need to do is take the end of the onion off and peel the outside.
Place a small cut on the outer layer using your knife and peel it off.
Step #2: Start Chopping
The end of step one makes it easy for you to proceed to the coarse chop.
Cut your “naked” onion into eight even pieces and place them in a bowl.
Step #3: Repeat
Repeats steps one and two for how many onions your recipe requires.
In case you’re wondering how to chop cabbage coarsely, here’s what you need to do:
Step #1: Clean the Vegetable
Rinse the cabbage with water and remove the top layer of leaves so that only clean, compact leaves are left.
Step #2: Position the Cabbage on the Cutting Board
Make sure the stem-end is against the board before you begin cutting.
Step #3: Coarse Chop Your Cabbage
Begin by slicing down the middle and then slicing each half so that you create quarters.
What Does Coarsely Chopped Mean: The Conclusion
The next time your recipe calls for an ingredient to be “chopped coarsely”, determine what the ingredient is first before you start chopping it.
Remember that while coarse chopping varies slightly depending on the vegetable or food in question, it generally means cutting an item into pieces larger than you normally would using the regular chopping method.
Coarse chopping is perhaps one of the easiest styles to master. It also opens the door for learning the more complex chopping methods.
That is because unlike doing a “fine chop”, the “coarse chop” doesn’t require you to have as much control over your knife.
All you have to do is aim for larger, mostly even pieces, and you’re good.
Still, coarse chopping isn’t solely what cooking is about, so you have to learn other chopping techniques to become a master chef.
Most importantly, you need to be aware of the safety practices for handling knives that will improve your longevity in the kitchen.