Technique: Roll cutting

This is an interesting technique that is peculiar to Chinese cuisine as far as I know. Its goal is to expose more surface area of a vegetable so that when stirfried, it cooks more quickly. (Unfortunately, it’s sometimes more difficult to pick the chunk up with chopsticks, though!) This method is used to cut long, thin vegetables (carrots, okra, celery, etc.)

  1. Begin by washing and peeling the vegetable if necessary.
  2. Hold the vegetable on your cutting board (with your left if you’re right-handed and vice versa), and turn the knife handle 45 degrees to the right (the point rotates toward your other hand). Keep your non-knife hand fingers curled a bit to keep the tips away from the knife! Make the first cut.
  3. Roll the vegetable away from you 90 degrees (1/4 turn) – the top of it should now be longer than the part that touches the cutting board.
  4. Keeping the knife at 45 degrees, make the second cut.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 until you have reached the end of the vegetable.
  6. If you practice this a lot, it’s good to have help with the resulting pile of veggies!

4 Responses

  1. Hi,

    Just a quick question, why do you cut them like this instead of in thin slices to expose more of the surface area? Is it to retain the texture of the vegetable more fully? I tend to try to cut long thin slices or sticks of these veggies if I try any sort of oriental cuisine, but may have to try this way if they turn out better!

    Thanks for visiting my blog, by the way, and for your comment. I’ll be keeping a close watch on your recipes for inspiration!

  2. Exactly – it keeps the vegetable crunchier in the middle. I find that if I do carrots in thin slices, they cook too much, but a thick slice won’t cook enough. This is a great cut for the Okra & Bacon recipe on this blog. In a stirfry of many veggies, it’s nice to mix up the shapes, so this also adds a new form to the combination.

  3. That’s a great pictorial – I’d been taught the technique by my mother but I had no idea that there was a proper name for it!

  4. Thanks – my husband’s photography!

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