Opposing cut or chigai-giri: The easiest ever decorative cutting technique for bananas, cucumbers and more
A couple of people asked about the twist-cut banana slices that were tucked into a corner of the scotch egg bento. This is actually a very simple decorative cutting technique that can be done in a couple of minutes, even if you are a beginner. I learned how to do this cut back in my first year of middle school (7th grade in U.S. school terms, or when I was 12-13) in home economics class. It's usually called chigai giri (違い切り) or 'opposing cut' in Japanese. I also call it the 'twist cut', since the business end of the cut looks like it is twisted.
There's more than one way to do this cut, but here's the way I learned how to do it. It still works best for me.
How to do the opposing / twist cut or chigai giri
I'm showing this with a banana, but you can do this with cucumbers as you see in the photo up top or any cylindrical food that would stand up firmly on its end. Sausages? Cheese sticks? Carrots? It's up to you!
To make ready: Two knives, the fruit or veg you are cutting, and a cutting board. The size of the knives doesn't matter. If you're doing this with a banana, something else you will need (not in the photo) is a cut piece of lemon.
Cut out a piece of banana (or cucumber, etc.) from the middle that is fairly straight. You can usually get 2 to 3 sections out of one banana.
Cut horizontally in the middle of the banana (or cucumber, etc.) to 1/3rd to 1/2 way through the length of the piece.
Leave that knife in. With the other knife, make a diagonal cut from the top of the piece. I've taken my hand away so you can see clearly where I'm cutting, but you'll want to keep a firm grip on the banana piece to steady yourself if you're a beginner.
Now turn the piece over. With the first knife still inserted in the middle (if it came out, put it back in) make another diagonal cut that faces the opposite direction from the first cut you made on the other side.
Rub the cut ends of the banana with the cut lemon. This will prevent the banana from discoloring, though the cut skin will still discolor a bit by lunchtime. (The bit of lemon on the end of the banana tastes really nice too.) There's no need to treat cucumber with lemon, but you may want to sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on it.
And here you have a twisty cut banana.
If you have more than one piece, it looks nicer when you group them in odd number multiples. (3, 5, 7 etc.)
What to do with the bits of banana left over? I just pop them in my mouth, but you could put them in your morning cereal too.
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