It is Saturday night, you meet your friends in this new sushi restaurant, and all the people at the table are hungry and waiting to eat some Japanese cuisine. When the meal arrives, you and your friends taste the sushi and wonder why you could never do the same at home. Then you ask the sushi man what the secret is. He just answers: “one item that separates good chefs from the greats is a strong arsenal of kitchen tools – particularly a quality chef’s knife”. For that reason, we will show what is behind a Japanese chef knife.
It is well known the ability of Japanese in mastering the steel, using this metal in all their ancient history, crafting unique styles of chisels, swords, and knives. Today, with technology, Japan also keeps the tradition of mastering the steel in various wonders like their high-speed bullet trains, earthquake-proof buildings, and many others. In this way, Japan grabs both tradition and technology and owns one of the most influential and used types of knives, in the market.
First, a good knife should possess some key elements. Minor details, such as the blade’s material and construction, is a must-see aspect. In this case, Japanese knives are tools with thin and light blades. Also, do not forget to take proper care of them, hand washing, polishing and storing them, as will cause your knife to last a lifetime.
Japanese knives have a distinctive design, with their thin, delicate, and hard to break structure, allowing for slight and precise cuts for a beautiful presentation of Japanese cuisine. Another casualty that made Japanese knives so famous is the spread of their cuisine. Food like sushi, sashimi, and tsukemono are only made with specific types of knives. Over the years, an invasion of Japanese food in western culture made the demand for Japanese knives increase exponentially. In order to enhance and preserve the ingredients and accentuate the flavour of a dish, Japanese knives play an essential element in their cuisine.
Types of Knives
If you want a versatile chef knife, your first option should be the Gyuto type. Made mostly to cut beef, this lightweight, thin blade, can be used not only to its purpose but can also be handled to prepare vegetables and fish. These knives are the closest to the western type of knife.
Maybe the most famous of this list, the Yanagi is used to slice boneless fish fillets into sashimi and toppings for sushi, making it the perfect weapon for a sushi-man. With a smooth, long, and thin blade designed to cut slices in one drawing stroke, the Yanagi applies minimal pressure on the fish to avoid stress and cell destruction. Lastly, it enhances the aesthetics and the flavours of the fish.
“Three virtues”. This is the meaning behind the name of the Santoku knife. A multi-purpose knife takes its name from its ability to effortlessly handle meat, fish, and vegetables. Well-suited for home use, due its high-profile blade, it makes the knuckles well above the cutting board.
The Sujihiki is intended for slicing boneless meats or proteins like tofu or breast chicken. With a short height of the blade, this type of knife creates less friction when cutting, and in this way, it draws through any piece, effortlessly. In other words, the Sujihiki is the western style equivalent of the Yanagi knife.
To complete your arsenal of knives, you will always need a versatile one. The Petty has the design to be a multi-utility, with a convenient size for delicate work, cutting or peeling small vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
Other Factors to Consider
After knowing more about the various types of knives, you should also be looking for these topics while searching for the best one. Genuine Japanese knives should contain a thin, sharpened, and balanced blade for any type that you want to use them on.
Be sure to look at your intention to use this knife, and analyse your budget, because these tools are handcrafted and can be overpriced. Be sure to grab a stainless knife for a better cooking experience. A sharpless knife is useless, so be sure to check the blade sharpness, and do not be afraid to sharpen your blade at home. Also, length provides a good experience with comfortable suiting.
Japanese knives have a pedigree of tradition along with their technology that keeps the tradition alive and well made. Plus, the insertion of their delicious cuisine which broke into the western world also factors in. Be sure to demand a specific type of Japanese knives, then pick the right one that works for your job. Hope you enjoy the reading.