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Chopping and basic knife skills

Chopping and basic knife skills - Kids' Kitchen

Published: April 20, 2022 at 12:55 pm
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Learning how to hold a knife and cut ingredients safely is a fundamental cooking skill. BBC Good Food's Kids' Kitchen videos, recipes and advice will guide you and your children through essential skills.

BBC Good Food’s series of Kids' Kitchen videos, recipes and advice will help you and your children learn essential skills for cooking, teaching you and them how to use these skills to create a variety of delicious dishes from scratch.

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Learning how to hold a knife and cut ingredients safely is a fundamental skill in cooking. Using a sharp knife can actually be safer than using a blunt one, which is more likely to slip. Make sure children are supervised when using sharp knives, especially for the first few times until they are feeling more confident.

Visit the Kids' Kitchen hub to learn even more skills.

Recipes that use the chopping skill

Fruity skewers with yogurt dip

Crunchy chopped salad

Baked veggie korma

Before you start

  • First, secure your chopping board. If the board doesn’t have much grip, it can slip around on the work surface, causing accidents to happen. To prevent this, dampen a clean cloth or sheet of kitchen paper and wring out the excess water. Put the cloth under the chopping board, making sure the board is level. This will prevent the board from slipping.
  • Make sure the work surface is at the right height for you. If you’re working at the kitchen counter, you may need to use a step or chair, but make sure it’s not wobbly and won’t slip. The kitchen table can also be a good place to work.
  • Choose a knife that feels comfortable (it shouldn't be too large or heavy) and suitable for the job. For cutting something soft like strawberries, bananas or mushrooms, you can use a cutlery knife. For harder ingredients like onions, peppers and cheese, you’ll need something sharper.
  • Never run with knives – if you need to move around the kitchen with a knife, keep it at your side, pointed down, as you would with scissors.
  • When you’re finished chopping, place the knife next to the sink or wash it straightaway. Never put the knife in a sink full of water as you may forget and cut yourself when you’re washing-up.

How to chop

There are a few ways to chop and cut ingredients – master these and you will be able to cut almost anything.

The bridge position

The bridge chop

Some ingredients, such as tomatoes, have curved edges that make them harder to cut. It’s best to cut these ingredients in half before chopping any further. Do this by making a 'bridge' shape with your hands over the knife. Place your thumb on one side of the ingredient and your fingers on the other to hold it in place, then slide the knife through the ingredient, cutting it in half.

The claw

The claw chop

For harder ingredients like cucumber, the 'claw' position comes in handy. Hold the knife in your strongest hand and the ingredient in the other, with your fingers and thumb tucked away from the knife. Slice the food, moving your hand backwards and away from the knife as you chop.

The cross chop

The cross chop

For soft ingredients like herbs or nuts, use the 'cross chop' position. Place the ingredients on the board and hold your knife in your strongest hand. Place the other hand on top of the knife, with fingers lying flat and out of the way. Rock your knife across the food, backwards and forwards to chop the ingredients.

Recipes that use the chopping skill

Fruity skewers with yogurt dip

Crunchy chopped salad

Baked veggie korma

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We’d love to see what you’ve been cooking. Send your pictures to us at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk or tag us online with #gfkidskitchen.

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