Dicing is more methodical than
chopping because dice should be regular and all the same size. Depending
on how precise the dice need to be, a vegetable is usually first cut into
even strips or julienne and then the strips or julienne are sliced. Very
fine dice, slightly smaller than 1/8 inch are called brunoise. Slightly
larger dice, a little smaller than 1/4 inch are called macedoine.
It's rarely necessary for home cooks
to cut vegetables into perfect dice. Irregular dice are usually okay, as
long as the pieces are about the same cut size. It's much easier to cut
carrots and other cylindrical vegetables such as parsnips into small
triangular pieces than into perfect cubes. To cut a round vegetable into
perfect dice, cut off the sides so you start out with one large cube. If
you want to save the trimmings which freeze well and can be used for soups
or puree, peel the vegetable first, otherwise don't bother.