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How to Chiffonade

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Chiffonade is a cutting technique that you can use to cut up any flat leafy food. It works great on things that you are going to eat fresh, like basil and lettuce and helps you cut uniform, curly, strips of food quickly and elegantly.
 
 
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Step 1: Stack the Leaves

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I am going to demonstrate this cutting technique with basil, but you can use it for anything you like.

First take a bunch of leaves and stack them all them all together. They don't all have to facing the same way, they just all have to be flat.

Step 2: Roll the Leaves

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Take your stack of leaves and put them down on a cutting board. Then, working your way from the top down roll the leaves up tightly.

Step 3: Cut the Roll

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Get a sharp knife (See Tim Anderson's Knife Sharpening Instructable if necessary) and begin to cut thin strips off of the roll. I am using my non-knife hand to take the photo, but it should be holding the roll in place.

If you are familiar with fine chopping then do whatever you normally do to protect your fingers while you cut.

If you are new to making cuts with a sharp close to your fingers then it can be a good idea to fold your fingertips under the hand that is holding the food in place. You can use your upper knuckles to guide the side of the knife as it moves up and down to make the cut. This isn't the most comfortable way to cut, but it will definitely protect your fingers since they will be safely kept out of the knife's way.

Step 4: Separate the Strips

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The strips of food come off the roll in tightly wound bundles. You might want to leave it like this for presentation purposes or you might want to separate them a bit so no one bites into a clump of basil. I gently toss them with my fingers to do this.

That's it - you've just cut a Chiffonade.

Kelly021 year ago
nice instruction.
i use this technique at work in a restaraunt kitchen all the time. we use it for 3 different varieties of lettuce, basil, etc...i never knew chiffonade referred to the technique rather than the plate you put it on, (i thought it meant platter or something) my cook told me wrong this.. this is also good for stuffed grape leaves im pretty sure... when you use romaine lettuce though, you have to crush the stem with your palm before rolling it up....awesome idea for an instructable!!
andrew.camp7 years ago
Just so everyone knows the basil was cut to hard, you want to use a chefs knife and let it glide. You can tell because it has black edges. also it is much easier to cut if you arrange the leafs from biggest on the outside to smallest on the inside with the steams facing down. Just some constructive criticism.
Kotazo7 years ago
Women in Central Africa do this with a vine leaf called (in the Sango language) Koko. The leaves are about the same size as Basil, and they will make somewhat larger rolls. Since this is one of the staple foods, they cut huge quantities. I was always amazed to watch them in the market Chiffonade cutting (thanks, I never knew this term before) all day long. As it only grew in the rainforest region and I lived up in the savana, I'd buy 10 kilo sacks of the dried Chiffonade cut leaves to take back up country with me.
sweet I LOVE basil just could never figure out how to cut it up
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