It doesn’t matter what you consider to be an essential part of your culinary prep arsenal, there’s no doubt knives would be among the basic tools you acquire. Since the dawn of time, they’ve helped people turn food prep into an easier and more efficient process, so anyone who wishes to excel at their cooking skills should look into enlarging the knife collection with something of quality.
If you want to invest in something tried and tested that can also assist you with improving your cooking skills and preparing meals that are delicious just as they’re well-presented, look no further than authentic Japanese chefs knives as invaluable must-have assets. Once you welcome them into your kitchen, prepare to be amazed at how they can take your culinary abilities to the next level!
Why Do Chefs Prefer Japanese Knives?
In a world of choices on the market, this is a question many of us are asking, especially those who don’t have much clue about the popularity behind Japan’s designs. The answer lies in the characteristics of the blades, which are notably thinner and lighter, and at the same time more balanced in the hand.
Not to mention, this is a country that’s known for the rich history and tradition of Samurai sword handcrafting. The exceptional choice of high-carbon steel and high-carbon stainless steel they use, paired with other great metals, such as nickel, chromium, and molybdenum, results in a Japanese chef tool combination that’s resistant to corrosion.
The Japanese blades are also able to hold an edge for quite a long time, so low blade maintenance is yet another of the attractive benefits these tools are famous for. This means they won’t give you too much trouble with the cleanliness as the chore is thoroughly washing them before and after use and storage with an appropriate cleaning agent, and gently wiping them with a soft, clean cloth. Sure, you’d still have to equip your arsenal with a reliable sharpener, but you won’t have to use it as often as you would with just about any other regular knife.
If you like these properties and want to get the kind of blade that can assist you with the most precise of cuts, look over the German and French varieties, and opt for your choice of Japanese chefs knives out of a range of options. All this is done with the most care possible, considering you use the other knives cutting by pushing them away from you, whereas the Japanese are used towards you.
This allows you to make the desired cuts without adding any significant damage to the food’s cells or texture. Don’t be surprised if after using your Japanese blades of choice you end up liking the food taste more! On top of it all, thanks to these precise cuts, you’d also be able to create dishes that last longer (if you resist the temptation to finish your plate right away) than your regular meals prepped with a cheap knife you bought at the supermarket.
Popular Types Of Japanese Knives
One of the first things you’re going to notice when searching for your ideal blade is how versatile the Japan kitchen knife can be. This is because each of the designs available is meant for a specific cut or dish, so you can choose based on the purpose you intend to use the tool for. Some of the popular and basic types you can pick to master culinary excellence include:
If you’re looking for the knife that’s the Jack of all trades, then what you need is a gyuto. Despite the name meaning “cow sword”, this is a type of knife that can do numerous things in the kitchen, which is why it’s considered to be an example of an all-purpose tool. If you need just one type of cooking knives Japanese in design, let it be this one. From chopping, dicing, and slicing of boneless meat to prepping fruits and veggies, this medium to large tool (from seven to ten inches) can do it all.
A Japan santoku knife is yet another all-purpose option that’s often the blade of choice in many Asian kitchens because it is useful for both chopping and cutting. Slightly smaller than the gyuto (six to seven inches), it also differs in the blade tip, which is notably curving downwards, as opposed to the sharper tip of the counterpart. Despite these differences, the santoku is just as useful to have around, especially if you have smaller hands. You could use it for fish and meat just as much as vegetable prep.
When you want to take care of the more delicate kitchen tasks, like slicing and peeling fruits and veggies, this is a general-purpose item that can also come in handy with other food prep chores, including slicing, dicing, and cutting herbs, poultry, and fish. With its smaller size (four to six inches), it’s an ideal choice if you wish to introduce a Japanese top-notch design in the kitchen but don’t yet have the skill or space for it.
Another general-purpose choice, this one used to be as popular as the santoku but has fallen back in popularity in recent years, though not because of not being useful. People prefer the alternative because it doesn’t come with the wider and longer blade of the bunka (typically between 4.5 to nine inches), which truly comes to shine at cutting fish and meats, as much as vegetables.
This is known as the carving knife, or the slicer, with a long blade that ranges between 9.5 to 14 inches, out of which it’s the 10.5” that’s considered the standard. It’s the preferred tool for preparing sushi, sashimi, and crudo. It’s perfect for cutting thin slices of roast meats, other meats, as well as fish like smoked salmon, and even vegetables like cucumbers. With the double-bevel design (i.e. sharpened edges on both sides), it’s the Western equivalent of the traditional Japanese single-bevel yanagiba slicing knife that requires experienced chef sharpening techniques.
This is the vegetable knife that comes with a square-shaped blade that’s very easy to handle thanks to the convenient length that ranges between 6.5 to eight inches. As you might guess by its name, no vegetable is a match for this Japanese creation, which is perfect if you mostly eat vegetarian dishes or want to take your vegan salads to a whole new level.
This one is a boning knife with a blade that typically ranges between 5.7 and 5.9 inches. Don’t be deceived by the smaller size because this tool is very handy for making easy and precise cuts through joints with utmost control. Whether you want to remove chicken breasts from bone, or any other poultry or meat dish, this is a knife you’d highly appreciate having as your cooking assistant.