Struggling With Bell Peppers? Use Ajay Chopra's Cutting Hacks

Bell peppers are one of the most nutritious vegetables you can consume on a daily basis and they’re a rich source of vitamin C, which supports immune function, and collagen production, and helps the body absorb iron. Bell peppers also contain vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, and potassium, among other nutrients. Moreover, bell peppers are rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamin C which neutralise harmful free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and lowering the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. 

However, bell peppers can be tricky to prep for daily cooking as there’s a fair amount of cutting and peeling needed. Popular chef Ajay Chopra shared an easy hack to cut bell peppers in your own kitchen. In a recent video, the chef broke down several ways to cut bell peppers for different kinds of preparations.

For sabzis, the chef recommends getting rid of the hard membrane at the centre and cutting it into angular pieces. For stir-fries, julienne and other uses, the chef cuts out both sides of the stem cuts around the membrane and separates it from the flesh. He then goes on to cut the long fleshy part into fine dice. “With this, you can cut dices, juliennes, brunoise, small dices, anything!” he says. 

Chopra also introduces his followers to a third way which involves cutting the bell pepper into four parts (starting vertically) and then cutting out the white ribs from each part before cutting them further. It’s always to cut bell pepper on a cutting board with a ‘Chef Knife’ which features a curved cutting edge with a pointed tip, so it has a thicker heel making it ideal for the rock chop technique that is best for cutting veggies. 

However, if you’ve never worked with bell peppers and have no idea how to go about cutting and cleaning them, here’s a step-by-step guide.

Place the bell pepper on the cutting board horizontally. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice off the stem end, creating a flat surface. Discard the stems by cutting them out.

With the stem end removed, stand the bell pepper upright on the cutting board. Hold it steady with one hand and use your other hand to slice vertically down the centre of the pepper, from top to bottom. You should now have two equal halves.

Lay one-half of the pepper flat on the cutting board, skin side down. Use your fingers or a paring knife to gently pull out the white membrane and seeds from the interior of the pepper. Discard the seeds and membrane and repeat this process with the other half of the pepper.

While not necessary, some cooks prefer to trim away the white ribs (the white pithy parts) from the inside of the pepper halves. This can help improve the texture and appearance of the sliced peppers.

If you want bell pepper strips, also known as julienne cuts, stack the pepper halves on top of each other. Use a sharp knife to slice the peppers vertically into thin strips of your desired width.

For diced bell peppers, lay the pepper halves flat on the cutting board with the skin side down. Cut the peppers horizontally into slices of your preferred thickness. Then, stack the slices and cut them into cubes.