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Friday, July 6, 2012

Sharpen the Knife

People who have full time live-in maid have one great advantage, that they ask their maid to do all the chopping and cutting for them. But there is risk there. Only the person who cooks knows, in what way a particular vegetable has to be chopped. When chopping for noodles, they have to be chopped in string style, long and thin, when it is for rice dish, it needs to be diced into thin tiny pieces, for veggies to be cooked on high heat, they need to be chopped slant wise and for plain cooking just round circles will do.
It becomes important to chop them yourself rather than giving tutorials to the maid. But then, we will not chop if we don't enjoy it.
There is pleasure in cutting only when we have a sharp knife. No?
Using a sharp knife is as important as using the right kind of knife. With blunt knife there is exertion and too much effort as we struggle to chop, and if we are not careful, the knife may skid and move slantwise chopping a part of our finger too. Ouch!
Over the years, I have used different kinds of sharpeners, metal sharpeners, rough stones or rubbing of two knives in opposite directions.
This is the stone sharpener that I am using nowadays. I had picked this up during my last trip to Bangkok. This has a stone ring in the center that rotates while sharpening the blades.

But the best sharpened knife till date is still those done by professionals who do rounds in narrow streets and sharpen the knife on rotating wheel.
They have a certain knack.
While sharpening the knife the most important thing is consistency. They hold the blade at exactly the same angle for every stroke.

These guys know the correct techniques for sharpening the blades, keeping at certain angle to acquire the correct sharpness.

After every stroke, they check the blades.

The stone wheel is attached to the wheels and while he cycles the wheel, the rotating stone wheel is used for sharpening the knife, sometimes throwing sparkles due to friction.

There are large varieties of knife sharpening stones that are used, and are available in different types, sizes and material compositions.  Carborundrum (Silicon carbide) is the most popular type of material used for knife sharpening stones, the others are made of diamond stones, Arkansas stones, ceramic wet stones and Japanese water stones.  These sharpening materials are quarried of varying grits which are relative to their sharpening function. Smaller grit numbers give the stone a coarse surface which is initially used to get rid of the blade’s imperfections and those with higher grit numbers on the stone gives a finer finish.
Many years ago I had seen a Bollywood film 'Zanjeer' in which Jaya Bacchan plays the role of a lady who sharpens knife and there is a song too...Chakoo churri..tej karalo...
Get the drift??


Shobha said...

Loved your post Pushpa..right you are..only the person cooking knows the right size and the way all the vegetables have to be chopped..
Also there is another disadvantage...the maid might not wash them well and washing after they are chopped..not recomended at all...we will lose all the nutritious value.
I prefer doing it myself too.

Pushpa Moorjani said...

So very true Shobha, maids cannot be trusted for any work unless supervised..but then its better to do ourself then stand around while they chop at their own speed, no?..thanks for sharing ur views :)))

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