A santoku knife is a multipurpose Japanese knife characterized by being extremely balanced. The name means 3 virtues in Japanese and actually refers to the 3 jobs this knife does best; slicing, mincing and dicing. A santoku knife is a must have because the weight of the blade and the handle are perfectly balanced in harmony to allow for better control. Understanding how to use santoku knife properly will allow you to make the best of it.
The knife is designed to provide balance and great grip. This is why it is amazingly appropriate for people with small hands or those who feel overwhelmed by big knives and cleavers. The knife has a flat edge with a sheep’s foot blade unlike the sharp point of western blades. The angle provides more linear cutting motion. However, the blade could also be used in rocking motion. This is why it is usually used to dice and slice especially when you want everything done fast. Due to the thin blade, you will be able to get very delicate and thin slices in one swift motion.
Santoku knives are traditionally made of steel, however there are modern variations made of metal alloys and ceramic. The handles can be made of plastic, wood or composite. You will simply have to place your meat or vegetable on a cutting board and simply push the edge in a downward swift motion. There is no need to rock the santoku knife like western style knives.
Properly cleaning your santoku knife will keep the blade sharp for long. Although most models are dishwasher safe, you might to hand wash your knife to make sure that the blade stays safe while loading and unloading the dishwasher. Hand washing the knife will also be gentler on the blade than the dishwasher soap.
A santoku knife is the best to use to slice thin boned and boneless meat in addition to fish and vegetables. However, western versions are not exactly designed in the same way which usually reduces the cutting ability of the knife. Some even feature scallops on the sides of the edge. These will prevent the thin slices of food from sticking to the blade which makes the cleaning process so much easier. The scallops also reduce the cutting friction while using the knife.
Most people wonder about the difference between a santoku knife and a chef’s knife. Understanding what each one does will help you pick the appropriate one for your kitchen needs and cooking preferences.
The Japanese style santoku knives are becoming very popular worldwide because they are very versatile. However, using one can take some patience and practice. The santoku knife is usually smaller, lighter and thinner than western style knives; however the blade is usually hardened to compensate for being thin.
A santoku knife will typically have no bolster which would naturally strengthen the knife and increases its balance. However, some of the western variations will feature a very thin one. This means that you will be able to sharpen the entire blade easily. It is usually used to chop herbs and small bunches of vegetables with no problem whatsoever. You can also use it to scoop up the chopped ingredients to put them in a pan or a pot.
A chef’s knife is a multipurpose knife that is widely used in the kitchen. Traditionally the knife was used to slice and disjoint big chunks of beef. However, the knife has grown to become very popular because it can be used for several cooking tasks. It can be used to cut chicken pieces and chopping big amount of vegetables.
A chef’s knife is usually heavier than a santoku knife and also features a longer blade. The blade is usually sharpened on both sides versus santoku blades that are sharpened on one side only. Chef’s knife comes in 2 different styles; German and French. The German style is entirely curved along the entire edge and is made of softer steel while the French style only curves near the tip.
There is no way you could find the best knife for you unless you hold it in your hand and feel its weight. If it feels comfortable and balanced, then this is the appropriate one to pick. You should also think about the tasks you are most likely going to perform in the kitchen. Most of the time, you might need both knives.
Knives are the chef’s best friend and the biggest players in the kitchen. Even if you are an amateur, simply to trying to prepare homemade food for your family, buying the best knife is essential. There are a lot of models and variations of santoku knives that can be used to prepare various kinds of food. Buying the appropriate one and understanding how to use santoku knife can save you a lot of hassle and drama.