All About: A Santoku Knife
Today’s post is about my second favorite knife that I use in the kitchen, the Santoku knife! About 5 years ago this sharp beauty became popular in the United States even though it originated in Japan centuries ago. I interchangeably use my #1 knife, the Chef’s knife, with the Santoku. Both knives, most of the time, can be used to “cut” the same foods…but the way you cut food is different. The Chef’s knife has a cambered edge, which means that the cutting edge of the blade has a gradual curve. It works best by employing the push technique. This is where the knife glides forward and down and the heel of the blade lifts with the tip remaining on the board as it returns to start the next cut. By contrast, a Santoku has more of a flat, straight cutting edge which works best with an up and down chopping motion.
I use a Santoku when the job calls for precise knife work. Some tasks where I will choose a Santoku over my Chef’s are:
§ Thinly slicing raw fish or meat
§ Dicing, mincing and thinly slicing vegetables and fruit
§ Butterflying chicken
As far as the size, 7” is preferred by most, and Santoku’s less than are too short for most cutting tasks.
A Japanese Chef’s knife is a wide bladed 5-7” knife with an overall thinner spine and taper than a French or German style chef’s knife. The spine runs parallel to the relatively flat cutting edge, which has a bolsterless heel and only curves near the tip to create a broad bladed knife similar in shape to a cleaver.
The taper is ground thinly and lengthened to give it maximum precision when slicing. The word Santoku translates as “3 good things,” which means it is versatile like a chef’s knife and cuts vegetables, fish and meat.