Martin Yan shows how to slice, mince, and julienne your way to more delicious food
The Chinese chef’s knife Yan uses to cut vegetables looks just like a cleaver but is much lighter (a true cleaver is strong enough to cut through bone). Here are Yan’s tips for buying and using one. You can also use an 8-in. French-style chef’s knife.
- Buy. Look for high-carbon stainless steel, which is rust-resistant and holds an edge; a slightly curved blade; triple rivets so the handle won’t come loose; and a full tang (meaning the metal of the blade extends into and all the way down the handle, for strength). The knife should feel lightweight and balanced, with the center of gravity where you grip it.
- Use. Grip the knife on the sides with your thumb and first finger and the other three fingers under the handle. Plant the tip of the blade farthest from you and rock it downward and then forward.
- Keep it sharp. Set the part of the knife’s blade that’s closest to the handle against a rod-shaped diamond steel at a 15° to 18°angle. Pull the knife down and across the steel in an arc, all the way to the tip. Repeat several times on each side of the blade. Wipe clean.