Types of Knives

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Types of Knives

This is great!! it's great to see someone doing their homework. so.... for chef's when it comes to knives.... Western Style These blades are Japanese made, but in a Western style. Often with a full tang, welded bolster and Western style handle riveted to the knife, but very commonly with a traditional Japanese handle. All of these knives will be sharpened with a double bevel (sharpened on both sides).

Gyuto

Translates to "Cow Sword" this is a multi purpose knife with a slight meat cutting bias. The shape is based on the classic European chef's knife. This is the knife that will do everything for you. Sizes start at 180mm and can reach a ridiculous 360mm with 240mm being the most common. A Gyuto with a traditional Japanese handle is called a Wa-Gyuto.

Santoku

This is also a multi purpose knife, but with a slight vegetable bias. Santoku means 'Three Virtues' or 'To solve Three Problems'. The virtues or problems are slicing, dicing and mincing. Santoku is usually found in 160mm - 190mm lengths. These are more and more popular in Western kitchens due to the unique shape and smaller easy to handle size.

Paring

A smaller knife (100mm- 135mm) often used for cutting in the hand in stead of a cutting board. Great for peeling and smaller jobs.

Petty/Utility

This is the knife for smaller jobs that are done on a cutting board. Think slicing shallots, cutting herbs and boning smaller cuts of meat, fish or birds. Petty knives are making more appearances in professional kitchens lately.

Sujihiki

"Flesh Slicer" would be this knife's name in English. It does just what the name suggests. Roast beef/turkey, raw meats, fish, all flesh really is a Sujihiki's specialty.

Nakiri

A Nakiri is a vegetable knife. They are under utilized in the Western kitchen. The flat blade is meant for push/pull chopping of vegetables. Since the entire flat edge of the knife strikes (actually I should say 'kisses') the cutting board at once the chance of accordion vegetables is greatly reduced. Accordion vegetables are still connected like paper dolls after one finishes cutting them. You can pick them up and squeeze together like an accordion. To truly understand the benefit of a Nakiri make onion soup when you first bring this knife home. It will all be clear after the onions are chopped.

Honesuki

A Honesuki is a poultry boning knife. I've seen them called 'Tokyo Poultry Knives'. They make quick work of chicken, pheasant, duck and turkey butchery. As a side bonus they are also great for peeling round fruit. Just the right shape.

Japanese style

These are traditional Japanese blades. They have a single bevel (sharpened on one side), a half tang and a wooded handle. Some call these knives sushi blades. Since Japanese style blades are sharpened only on one side they are extremely sharp and easy to maintain. With a strong bevel on the front side and a concave back side these knives are effectively non-stick and slice through food with incredible ease. Single sided blades are generally right handed, but left handed models are available.

Usuba

Usuba translates as 'flat edge/blade'. The flat blade is meant for push/pull chopping of vegetables. Since the entire flat edge of the knife strikes (actually I should say 'kisses') the cutting board at once the chance of accordion vegetables is greatly reduced. Accordion vegetables are still connected like paper dolls after one finishes cutting them. You can pick them up and squeeze together like an accordion. To truly understand the benefit of an Usuba make onion soup when you first bring this knife home. It will all be clear after the onions are chopped.

Deba

This is the first knife a sushi chef uses. It is for filleting fish and butchery with boneless meat. Deba means 'short fat tooth' to describe the shape. Don't let the shape and weight of a Deba fool you, they are nimble and precise.

Yanagiba

A Yanagiba is a slicers dream. They are graceful, capable of amazing sharpness and sexy. Yanagi means 'willow leaf' and refers to this knife's long narrow shape. Traditionally used for slicing sashimi they are equally at home with a roast beef, ham or calf's liver. Yanagiba are originally from the Kansai (Osaka) region. Once you go Yanagiba you'll never go back.

Kiritsuke

A single sided chef's knife. These knives are designed to do most of the cutting tasks in a kitchen. A Kiritsuke can be used like a Usuba and Yanagiba.

My only other suggestion is make sure you take into account the type of steel each knife is made from, it should influence the type of sharpening media you use. Cooks get all excited for very hard steels but for the most part they can't afford to buy them, so they talk about it often.

Contributed by nicholas6225 Reference


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