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Philippine Cuisine: How Vegetables are Often Cut

Philippine Cuisine: How Vegetables are Often Cut

In Philippine culinary practice, as in many places, vegetables are not just cut any which way. Some native dishes require specific cut styles. There are specific styles or kinds of cutting vegetables to go with specific native recipes.

Julienne cutting style is for native recipes requiring fine and narrow vegetable sticks. They are about 2 to 3 inches long and about an eighth inch square thick. Some native dishes may require finer julienne styles. This may be used for cooking fried potato or sweet potato as an appetizer, or as a side dish for several native dishes like fried chicken. It may also be used for stuffing vegetables in rolls, like fried or fresh “lumpya.”

Shredding is cutting vegetables into long, thin pieces like when a grater is used. This cutting style is used for cabbage or lettuce. Native recipes requiring shredding are sautéed and/or stewed cabbage, string (Baguio) beans, “pechay” leaves, “patani” flat beans, and sometimes even eggplants and “ampalaya” or bitter melon. Shredding is usually done in stuffed native dishes.

Sliced vegetables are also often used in cooking native recipes. This involves cutting the vegetables crosswise or lengthwise or even diagonally, thinly. This style of cutting is required in the following native dishes: “amplaya” or bitter melon “con carne,” choy suey, vegetable salads, the Ilocano “pinakbet,” some sautéed vegetable recipes, “sinigang” recipes, and vegetable omelets, among others.

Diced cutting is used for quick-cooking native recipes using tough vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, tubers, and some fruits used for salads. Diced pieces in native dishes often measure a fourth to a third inch square. Dicing, along with shredding and julienne cutting, is used in stuffing rolls and omelets.

Minced vegetables are cut much smaller than diced ones. Mincing is often done with vegetable spices to better bring out their flavors and better supplement a native recipe. Vegetables in native dishes often requiring mincing are garlic and ginger. Mincing in Philippine culinary often means crushing the vegetable first before cutting it in small pieces.

Chopping is often required in cooking most vegetable native recipes. Chopped vegetables are usually onions, string beans, some “pechay” and cabbage recipes, carrots, apples, onion leaves, celery, among others found in native dishes.

Chunked vegetables are for native recipes with potatoes, radish, carrots, and other tough vegetables. They are used for prolonged cooking of native dishes.

Vegetables ought to be cut as specified or required in a particular native recipe. Vegetable cutting styles contribute much to the precise cooking of native dishes.

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