Many Asian recipes call for meats and vegetables to be cut on the bias. This type of cut exposes more surface area to the heat, so the item cooks quickly. Many of the Chinese cabbages, especially those in the bok choy family, are cut this way, as are chicken breast. pork, flank steak, and fish fillets. Even celery can be cut this way for salads or Asian-style dishes. Hard, solid vegetables such as carrots should be cut on the bias with the knife in the perpendicular position.
Either a chef's knife or carving knife may be used—the longer the knife, the easier the task. The key to mastering this technique is to avoid pressing down with the knife at the start of the cut. For the depth, place the tip of the knife at the starting point with your fingers over the blade edge. With a very low angle (about 10 degrees) and almost no downward pressure, push forward until the tip meets the board, then pull to separate, keeping the tip on the board. The thickness of the slice is determined by the knife's angle. A high angle yields thick pieces and less surface area, a low angle yields thin pieces and more surface area. Your fingers are insulated by the slice you are cutting.
This page created July 2008
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