Best Food Processor Guide

What’s the difference between a compact food processor and a mini chopper?

In this day and age there is a device for every purpose in the kitchen – there is no ‘one size fits all’ appliance for food preparation tasks.

Compact food processors and mini choppers are no exception to this rule, and the different terminology is not simply a marketing tool: they really do fulfil different purposes.

So what’s the difference? A compact food processor is a food processor which retains most of the functionality of its larger siblings, except that it has simply been designed to be small. It may still be able to do many different things and may be supplied with a similar albeit modest array of attachments in comparison, but a compact food processor is usually aimed at households of 1-2 people. Typical reasons for buying such a device are that compact food processors are lighter, take up less room on kitchen work surfaces, and are likely to be cheaper. For some people, it’s more convenient to simply leave a compact food processor permanently out on the kitchen worktop, instead of having to move a bulkier one in and out of a kitchen cupboard each time it is needed.

On the other hand, mini choppers are best thought of as a sidekick to a larger food processor or mixer. Their capacity means that they simply cannot process ingredients in a way that a compact or a standard food processor can. For example, with a bowl capacity of 350 ml – little more than the volume of a fizzy drinks can – the Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper is hardly going to be used to chop up a bowl of firm vegetables for a batch of soup.

So what are they good for? Mini choppers are best used for making small dishes and condiments, such as sauces, dips, purées, guacamole, pesto, baby food and chutney, and for preparing small portions of foods and garnishes, such as chopped herbs. They are also the obvious choice for processing individual things which would simply be too small for the average food processor, such as a single chilli, and they chopping up a single item such as an onion for the frying pan an extremely easy task.

Mini choppers will help you avoid the burning sensation on your fingers when cutting up a chilli, and they will also save you from getting watery eyes when cutting up an onion. Bearing in mind that food odours can linger in plastic contains even after they have been washed, mini choppers are also the obvious solution for keeping onions away from your main food processor’s bowl.

Many food processors also come with a mini chopper attachment. This may look like a grinder attachment, but usually isn’t quite as versatile due to the fact that the jar is made out of plastic instead of glass. Consult the instruction manual to find out the extent to which you can grind stuff in them: rigid spices are likely to discolour the plastic, and some can’t be used as grinders at all.

There’s still very good reason for a household of 5 or 6 people to buy a compact food processor, even if there’s already a larger food processor in the kitchen, and under these circumstances, a compact food processor could be used as a cheat device similarly to a mini chopper. Take a spaghetti bolognese for example. Where a mini chopper is too small to chop up the onions for the frying pan, a compact food processor is likely to be big enough without having to get a bulkier 3 litre food processor out of the cupboard.

In summary, a compact food processor will still function as a full size food processor, but a mini chopper is best left for the little things.

Posted on April 3rd, 2016. Tags: , ,