We’ve talked about the types of knives and what they do. Now, let’s take a closer look at 3 cutting techniques and their uses. Chopping, dicing and mincing. In a nutshell, chopped pieces of a given food are larger than diced pieces, and minced pieces are smaller and more irregularly shaped than diced pieces.
The definitions of each are as follows:
Chop: to cut into smaller pieces
Dice: to cut food into small cubes
Mince: to chop food into extremely small, fine pieces
The question that arises then, is when do we chop, dice and mince?
When it comes to chopping here is not a standard size for chopped pieces to be, but in general they are usually bite-sized, coming in a coarse, medium size. This means getting the vegetable from its whole form into smaller chunks that don’t have to be uniform in size. Chopped vegetables are great for soups that will be pureed, or as a base layer for roasted meats.
When your recipe calls for dicing something, it means to cut it into small, even cubes. These cubes of foods are usually between 1/8 and 1/4 inch in size. Food can also be diced in a coarser form to create larger cubes. The uniform size and shape helps food to cook at the same pace, and ensure sit’s properly done.
Like a puree but with made with a knife, mincing is the process of finely chopping food into the tiniest pieces possible. Items that usually minced are garlic, shallots and fresh herbs; things you want to add into what you are making without any noticeable chunks or pieces.
What each of these processes do is help release the flavours and oils of the food. Smaller pieces have a greater surface area, releasing more flavour while cooking more evenly.
When can we substitute one for another? In most cases we can, but as you go through the recipes do follow the preparation technique whether it requires you to chop, dice or mince certain ingredients as it allows to help bring out the best in taste and aroma in your dishes.