In this cooking video, I show you how to chop a jalapeño pepper.  As I’ve said before, knife skills are a very important part of cooking.  As a cook, you can easily spend half (or more) of your time on prep work, so getting fast is important.  Wouldn’t we all rather be eating than chopping?

There are few issues you should be aware of when you’re chopping jalapeño peppers:

  • Know your heat.  Generally smaller and brighter peppers are hotter, but there’s no substitute for actually tasting a tiny piece before you add it to your dish.
  • You need to decide if you want the seeds or not.  The seeds, and inner membranes or ribs, often hold the most heat, so removing the seeds can be a way to adjust the heat level.  I also think removing the seeds can give a more “refined” look.
  • Be careful what you touch with your hands.  Unless you use gloves, the capsaicin, which is what makes a pepper hot, will get on your hands.  If you touch your eyes after chopping a hot pepper, or some other sensitive area, the capsaicin will transfer to your skin, and give you an…uncomfortable burning

As I show in the video, there are a few different ways to chop the peppers depending on your recipe.  You can make:

  • Rings: by just chopping right through the pepper from the top to the bottom
  • Julienne (or match sticks): by cutting off the sides of the pepper (you can do so while leaving the seeds in the pepper) and then cutting long strips from the sides
  • Diced: by cutting your match sticks into small squares

Remember to use that claw technique for your chopping, keeping that knife tip on the board and feed the pepper under the blade…you’ll be done in no time. 

Enjoy!!