Easy Asian Food Carving Ideas For Beginners

A few tips, tricks and ideas for beginners that want to experiment with Asian food carvings and garnishes. These easy to follow and expand upon instructions will make plate presentation a fun experience.

An important part of any cooked dish is presentation. Professionals, young chefs and the everyday cook can create masterful presentations, adding a touch of class to any buffet or dish with food carvings. Try some of these easy, beginner level carvings to serve with your next meal.

There are two secrets to food carving: product and practice. Having the sharpest paring knives and the best looking produce to begin the task will result in the best carvings. And, like all crafts, practice makes perfect - experiment and try a few carvings - you'll only get better with each try.

Prepare a clean work area with a large cutting board, sharp knifes, bowls of ice water and produce to carve. Wash and peel, if necessary, fruit and vegetables and allow to dry. Some of the most popular Asian foods to work with are listed below:



Chinese White Cabbage/Chard or Bok Choy - a green, flat leaf, white-stemmed vegetable

Bean sprouts - sprouts of soya or mung beans

Daikon - long white radish, similar to a carrot

Carrots - basic orange, white or purple shades

Water Chestnuts - white-fleshed root of water grass

Peppers - green, red, yellow and chili

Snow peas - thin, flat peas within a pod

Radishes - Small red bulb root

Apples and pears

Green Onion

Celery

Seaweed Wraps

Chives

Roses - These roses can be created with a red bulb radish or a 1" piece of a carrot, daikon or a water chestnut. Trim the bottom of a radish or piece of carrot, daikon or water chestnut so it sits flat. Lay a chopstick next to the trimmed piece, directly touching the side. Place an apple corer on top and firmly press down, the chopstick will prevent too deep a cut. Immerse the rose in a large bowl of ice water for a few hours to produce a flowering affect. Place on a small piece of chard within a salad or the side of a dish for an edible flair.

Mums - These mums can be created with a radish or piece of carrot, daikon or water chestnut - the large the piece the better. Trim the bottom of a radish or piece of carrot, daikon or water chestnut so it sits flat. Lay two chopsticks next to the trimmed piece, directly touching the sides. Slice the piece into narrow strips, stopping the cut when it hits the chopstick, preventing a cut all the through. Rotate and slice in the opposite direction, creating a diced effect. Immerse the mum in a large bowl of ice water for a few hours to produce a flowering affect. Place on a piece of chard or a mound of bean sprouts at the side of a dish.

Lily - Long red and/or green chili peppers work best as a lily. Using a small, sharp knife or pair of straight, small scissors, make five or six slits in the chili pepper from just below the stem, meeting at the tip. If the chili is too long, cut a bit off the tip. Try not to loose too many of the seeds, as they will create a spotted affect on the lily. Drop into a bowl of iced water and refrigerate for an hour or two, until the 'petals' curl back. Place on a plate right before serving.

Bushels - These bushels are very simple to create; thinly julienne carrots, peppers, snow peas or fruit and stack together. Tie the bushel together with a seaweed wraps, the skin of an apple or a long chive.

A quick topper can be created with small cookie cutters in various shapes. Thinly slice a hard vegetable or fruit and cut out shapes with the cookies cutters. To create a 3-D affect, cut two of the same shapes and slice one shape from the middle to the edge; slip the sliced portion over the second shape and stand the creation on the edge of a serving dish.

To add a little pizzazz to a stew or soup dish; place very thin 3-5" strips of green onions, celery or carrots into icy water for at least 30 minutes, long enough for them to curl. Place in the center of the dish just before serving.

Don't be afraid to experiment with other vegetable or fruit and get creative with your carvings. The very best part of failed experiments is that you can eat the evidence.

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