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Tips for Tito: If it’s on Twitter, your family WhatsApp group already knows and chop those tomatoes finely

Tips for Tito: How to chop tomatoes finely when cooking stews this autumn. Picture: Tito Mboweni/Twitter

Tips for Tito: How to chop tomatoes finely when cooking stews this autumn. Picture: Tito Mboweni/Twitter

Published Apr 12, 2022

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Who does not love autumn? This season is the perfect time of the year for hearty salads, slow-cooker favourites, one-pot wonders and other quick and easy warming dinner recipes that say a gentle farewell to summer.

During this time of the year, people whip up delicious soups and stews. Cosying up in the cold weather and cooking a warm, hearty meal this week was Twitter cooking sensation Tito Mboweni.

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Mboweni took tweeps on a culinary tour where he cooked lamb stew, but as always, users were not impressed with the dish.

He has been for the longest time teased about the amount of garlic he uses in his food, and how he doesn’t chop his vegetables finely enough, which could ruin the presentation of the meal.

Of course, Mboweni’s lamb stew was ruined because of the number of tomatoes used and how they were chopped.

One of the tricks to getting a stew dish perfect is to make sure all the vegetables are chopped finely, but he failed at that method. Fine chopping of vegetables is one of the most important cooking skills to learn, because often soups, stews and sauces start with chopped veggies.

For example, perfectly sliced tomatoes help to elevate simple dishes into mouth-watering masterpieces.

Juicy, ripe tomatoes can be a bit challenging to slice. But the below guidance by wikiHow should make working with tomatoes a snap.

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Place your washed tomato on a cutting board

Make sure that the stem end is facing upwards. This will make coring the tomato easier.

Remove the core

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If you’re working with large tomatoes, you will have to remove the core before slicing them. If you’re working with small cherry or grape tomatoes, this step is unnecessary and you can skip ahead to the next step.

Place the tomato on its head

Now that the core is removed, your tomato will have a flatter top. Turn your tomato upside down so that it faces the cutting board and gives you a stable base.

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Cut the tomato in half

Using a sharp chef's knife or a serrated knife, make one long cut from top to the bottom so that your tomato is divided into two even hemispheres. This will make slicing much easier, but if you want whole tomato slices, you can omit this step and skip ahead to the slicing part.

Take one of the halves and reposition it

Place the cut side down, facing the cutting board.

Slice the tomato

The following steps will help you make safe, even cuts across your tomato. If you are slicing a whole tomato, you can still follow the same steps.

  • Place your non-cutting hand on the left side of the tomato (if you are cutting with your right hand). Curl up your fingers into a claw shape and press your fingertips lightly on the tomato. This type of grip helps to stabilise the tomato and prevent you from cutting yourself.
  • Place the tip of the knife on the cutting board behind the rightmost side of the tomato.
  • Keeping the knife tip on the cutting board, drag your knife straight down and through the tomato. A sharp knife will make cutting easier.
  • Once you are through to the other side, lift up the knife.
  • Reposition your knife at the top of the tomato, about 0.64 to 1.27cm to the left of your last cut, depending on how thick you want your slices.
  • Repeat the same dragging motion and continue across the tomato.
  • Repeat for the second tomato half.

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