One of the first recipes we prepared in culinary school was fish en papillote, though I recall it mostly as a lesson in how to julienne carrots and leeks. Chef demoed the knifework, cutting the vegetables into segments, trimming the edges, thinly slicing the segments into planks, and cutting the planks into sharp-edged batons—all with surgical precision. We students followed up with our own attempts, and while the fish parcels tasted lovely, my vegetables weren’t nearly as graceful or tidy. That was 18 years ago, and I haven’t julienned much since.
Until recently. Lan Lam and Annie Petito were julienning loads of carrots for japchae and javaher polo, respectively, and these were dishes I love and couldn’t wait to make myself. I was admittedly dreading the prep work, but Lam introduced me to an alternative method that she learned from her Chinese-born grandmother. The results are a tad less uniform, but the work is much faster and simpler—even less wasteful. Bring on the carrots! Here’s how it works.
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The Fastest, Easiest Way to Julienne Carrots
1. Starting at top of carrot, cut on bias to create oblong slices. (For longer matchsticks, cut at more acute angle.) Slices will automatically fall into shingled formation as you cut them.
2. Flatten slices so you don’t have to cut through more than three at a time. Cut across slices to create matchsticks.