My grandma used to tell me that food is the gateway to the soul. I was young then, it took a while, but in time, I understood. What still confuses me, though, are the cuts. If you're somebody who has struggled with this, then you found the right article. This article will give you every information you need, presented to you in a concise but detailed manner.
If you have any questions or want clarification, please talk to us. We are here. We will respond.
What's a Julienne?
A "julienne" is a specific method of slicing or cutting vegetables, fruits, and meats into little strips that look like matchsticks. Generally speaking, most of these cuts are 1/8 inch (3mm square), but there is no official rule. Most cuts range from:
- 1/8 (3mm square)
- 1/16 (1.5mm square)
- 1 inch (25mm square)
- 2 inches (50mm square)
When meat, vegetable, or fruit is sliced this way, it becomes much faster to cook. Great for stir-fries. This kind of cut is also considered a "decorative cut" perfect for garnishing many dishes. There are multiple kitchen utensils available that make this whole process much more simple, saving time and effort.
They are called julienne peelers. They look very similar to your typical peeler however these types of peelers often come in a two-blade, one saw-tooth, and one straight-edge setup. This gives you a powerful but easy-to-use tool for cutting consistent strips, it's as easy as running down the flesh of a vegetable or fruit and that's it. Perfect, consistent strips.
What Tools Can You Use to Julienne?
Besides the peelers that I mentioned, which are the easiest and will not overwhelm you, there are other tools that you can use.
Here are our recommendations:
Made from a high-carbon steel blade, it's not only stainless steel but is one of Imarku's best-selling knives. Known for its years-lasting durability and functionality. This particular blade is anti-tarnish, and corrosion and even features a robust 0.6-0.75 c0ķarbon that reinforces its sturdiness making it twice hard compared to other knives, which are just 0.3% carbon.
It is a multi-functional knife; it cuts, dices, slices, chops, and even cuts meat easily off bones with a Rockwell hardness of 56-58. This blade is not just sturdy but tough. Pair that with a walnut finish and pakkawood handle, a wood/resin composite made by engineers to make it dense and even more water-resistant - all this greatly reduces fatigue, aches, or finger numbness from long use.
Made from ebony wood, this fantastic cutting board from Imarku is non-slip, built to withstand heavy chopping, slicing, blows, carving, and soaking, and picking it up is just easy. Even after extensive heavy usage, it will not dull your knife, wrap, or split. Unlike plastic chopping boards that leave knife scratches, this doesn't.
This cutting board features a dark wood finish that makes it not just a utensil; it's a tool that you can be proud to display. It's lightweight; it's easy to use, and even easier to clean. Imarku thought of everything, including keeping your kitchen clean with a deep juice groove that retains the juice left from your freshly cut food, fruits, and vegetables.
Best of all, this board has stable feet, and hiddle handles on both sides that grip the countertop, making it not just non-slip but also a way for you to grasp the cutting board with ease. A tip for you, when you're using this board for the first time, be sure to apply cooking oil over the whole item for the first 24 hours.
You get a 1-year warranty when you buy this board from Imarku, making it a fantastic gift as that warranty gives you the confidence that this will last for a very long time. Possibly, if taken care of well, it can last for decades.
Masthome's Mandoline Slices with Food Guard
Besides the peeler, a mandoline slice is one of my favorite tools. It's robust and much safer to use. Let me explain simply what a mandoline slicer is. Think of a grater, but it's a lot safer, easier to use, has a smoother experience, and has a lot of options for a slice; whether that's the size or thickness, it's great.
The Masthome mandoline features a super sharp stainless steel blade that cuts through everything, even hard vegetables like carrots. Zero issues with it at all. There are 4 non-slip rubber feet attached, giving you the confidence that it will not move an inch. They even provide you with cut-proof gloves that prevent cutting your hand. There's a food holder so you can cut without your hands being near the blade.
Best of all, this mandoline is known for its even slicing and adjustable thickness - it will make your dishes look nice and cook evenly - built with convenience in mind, cleaning it is as simple as rinsing it under running water. The built-in blade that rotates is detachable; there's a button for you to turn to the 'out' position, and just whatever small particles are left, use a brush.
Getting Ready to Julienne
Let's begin by preparing your ingredients and assembling all your necessary kitchen tools. In this section on how to do it manually, we'll go over how to julienne an onion, how to julienne carrots, how to julienne soft vegetables, and what you should look out for when doing this kind of cut.
Before we begin, please always remember to curl or tuck your fingers inward. This acts as protection from your knife's blade. And as you cut, please move your hand away from the blade. So again, curl your fingers and move your hand away from the blade as your blade comes close to your fingers.
Now, to start, hold the fruit or vegetable with your non-dominant hand, and with your dominant hand, cut the fruit or vegetable with your knife diagonally, and then group them together and simply slice them to small matchstick-like sizes. This process, while relatively easy when done with a few vegetables if you're cooking for a lot of people. This can be very draining and just not fun. I suggest using a mandoline.
How to Julienne an Onion
As the shape of the onion is round, I would suggest using a glove to protect yourself and grip it more firmly. You want your hand to position itself like a claw. Please keep your fingers tucked or curled in. This way, your knife will just glide with your fingers.
Now, slicing through the root, cut it in half. Turn it 90 degrees where you can see where the root and stem used to be. See the onion lines? Make your cuts along or parallel to those lines. Please do not cut crosswise. Now, slice from the top, and you should see julienne onion strips, and that's how you do it.
Remember, those onion lines act as a guide for you where to cut from the top.
How to Julienne Carrots
First, you want to peel the carrot, then cut off the bottom and top portions. Now, cut it in half. Next, you can square it off or just cut it into flanks. After that, you want to stack 3 or 4 on top and just slice, to form those match sticks. There, you have your own julienned carrots. Perfect for stir-fry or salads.
How to Julienne Soft Vegetables
Alright, I'll be honest with you. If you want to julienne soft vegetables, it will be a bit of a challenge. It's not impossible, but it is a challenge. From tomatoes to broccoli and cauliflower, the general rule here is you want to pick a "soft vegetable" that has a bit of firmness to it. For example, a tomato is a soft vegetable. However, there's a type of tomato called a "beefsteak tomato" that's known for its meaty firmness.
Remember that non-slip cutting board from Imarku I mentioned earlier. It's the perfect tool for dealing with them pesky juicy tomatoes. Before you start cutting, make sure to wash your tomato with cold water. You can even use a non-slip glove. The mandoline from Masthome comes with free non-slip gloves.
Julienning a tomato, using your chef's knife or a sharp paring knife, get that core out of there, and you want to cut it vertical. This will allow your tomato to hold up better as you slice it. Now simply sew each sliced piece, one by one, into long strips, and there you go. And remember, if you have a lot of vegetables to cut. Do tomatoes last as they have the most juices.
Other soft vegetables follow the same process. Remove the core first, then cut into uniform portions, stack them, and then simply cut them into matchsticks.
What to Look for When Julienning
Your fingers! I cannot stress the importance of watching your fingers and your knife. I've had one too many accidents where I accidentally cut myself. Nothing too serious, but it could have been much more serious than a small cut.
And as your vegetables, fruits, or meats. It's mostly the size that you want to watch out for. If you slice them too big, the taste and texture can dramatically change from soft and tender to tough and raw. Common sizes are 1/8, 1/16, 1 inch, and 2 square.
This method of cutting has been around since the 1700s. Many of us have probably done this by accident - we just never knew the term for it - these kinds of cuts are only often seen in fine dining as it's an indicator of "quality" food prepared by a passionate professional.
But now, you possess the skills necessary to have your fine dining experience at home and anywhere. I guarantee you a softness to the texture of your vegetables or fruits. A unique sweetness that feels like a burst of new flavors. Somehow, I don't know how but it accentuates other flavor profiles.
I wish I could explain to you scientifically why julienned vegetables taste so good - they just are - and though a bit tedious at times, the taste and texture make an effort all worth it. I love these small little matchsticks in my salad, my fish, or even stir-fry.