As someone who’s long lived in big cities and correspondingly tiny apartments, I’ve always taken a minimalist approach to kitchen equipment. If I can make do without, it doesn’t make the cut. For years, I didn’t own a microwave. Even today, I still don’t own a real coffee pot. (Pour over for the win!)
But as I’ve gotten more into cooking over the past few years, I’ve found myself skipping certain recipes because I don’t have a food processor. Sure, I can sometimes chop things by hand, but depending on the ingredient and amount, that can be a pain. Or my blender might be up to the task, but it’s annoying to clean, and doesn’t feel worth the trouble when I just want, say, a handful of minced garlic.
Then, during one of the few actually-fun Zoom hours of 2020, one of my former colleagues was leading us through her coconut shrimp and dip recipe and whipped out the most adorable mini food chopper ($16) that was about the size of a mug. That was something I could make room for in my cupboards. I immediately had her send me the link.
Bluecow, Electric Mini Food Chopper — $16.00
Size: 3.45″D x 3.45″W x 3.94″H
Capacity: 100 ml and 250 ml
Power: USB rechargeable
Cleaning: Hand-wash only
- Doesn’t take up much pantry space
- Only takes a few seconds to dice
- Easy to clean
- Limited capacity
- Ingredients need to be in fairly small chunks before going in
As someone who easily gets overwhelmed by intense kitchen gear (maybe another reason why I’ve avoided a food processor?), the first thing I noticed—and appreciated—about this electric mini food chopper is that it has just one button. That’s right. No matter how frazzled I get in the middle of a recipe, I can’t screw this up. Because, bonus: The button won’t even turn on if you haven’t assembled the three components (cup, blade, lid) correctly.
And this isn’t another tool that I need to find an outlet for when counter space is scarce. The chopper charges via a USB cord, then is completely portable. I only charge mine about once a month or so between uses. (Unsurprisingly, some shoppers report this feature makes this gadget ideal for camping and picnics.)
But how well does it actually work? Because of the small size of the cups (it comes with two—one 250 ml and one 100 ml), I do usually need to chop things like onions or peppers into smaller chunks before putting them inside or else they won’t fit, though I can pop garlic cloves right on in. Once the chopper is closed, all I need to do is press the button on the top and it starts dicing. I have found that I can’t stuff the cup overly full—there’s only one speed, and it’s not powerful enough against serious resistance. But it can chop up a handful of veggies or herbs in just five or 10 seconds as long as there’s still some air inside. (The product says you can also mince boneless meat, but I’ve yet to try that.) This isn’t something you’d use to crush ice or blend up a smoothie. But when I need a handful of onions without crying all over the dish, I’ve found it’s just right.
Once I’m done chopping comes maybe the biggest selling point for me: Clean-up is super easy. The three components smoothly slide apart for painless washing; even the top that powers the chopper is totally waterproof, which means I never dread using it. Just want a little fresh garlic? NBD. I can dice it up and be done with those dishes in less than a minute. That’s my kind of cooking.
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