Having a high-tech food processor is all well and good, but sometimes a grater is just the best option. Mihyun Han, chef and owner of Hwaban in NYC, swears by handheld food graters like the Inomata Large Radish Grater.
Han says that this particular grater style — made of plastic, featuring round holes lined with little “teeth” — is “especially important in Korean cooking, where grating technique is used regularly.” When Han makes gamjajeon (Korean potato pancakes), she grates the potatoes by hand to ensure a “unique texture and mouthfeel.”
She also uses it to add a bit of texture and taste, grating fruits and vegetables to “enhance and add new flavor profiles to many dishes.” When making galbi (short rib), Han will add grated pear to the sauce for a “nice, natural sweetness” without relying on sugar.
Plus plenty of recipes (especially when cooked for just one or two people) don’t justify the rigamarole of setting up and cleaning a food processor or blender. Han prefers to whip out her grater for small amounts of daikon radish or ginger, or — another clever use — for making baby food: She’ll grate part of an apple or pear for a quick baby-friendly snack.
Han recommends keeping an eye out for this type of grater at your local Korean or Japanese grocery store, where they’re usually pretty affordable. Because they are plastic, they are typically dishwasher safe, won’t rust, last for ages, and don’t transfer lingering odors or tastes (crucial when you’re using the same tool for both onions and apples).
The only downside, Han notes, is that doing a lot of grating in one go — for example, when making gamjajeon for a large crowd — can be tiresome on your arms. But a superior texture is totally worth it.
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