There are several types of knives available that you may want to add to your culinary collection. But if you are a passionate chef or a professional looking out for a brilliant knife for various types of cuts and slices, you must invest in a Japanese Nakiri knife. Suppose you have ever gone to a sushi bar and witnessed omakase preparation before your eyes. In that case, the chances are that you have been fortunate enough to see a Nakiri knife incomplete action. And you have been spellbound by the smoothness with which it does its job.
When the word Nakiri' is translated from the Japanese language, you get a knife used to cut greens and vegetables. The knife constitutes a straight-edge blade structure with an additional squared-off tip. The design offers the advantage of cutting through the greens through its entire length using a horizontal push and pull motion. Moreover, a Nakiri knife lets you craft thinner and even slices because of the straight structure of the blade. As a result, you will have smoother cuts without spoiling or breaking delicate greens.
What Is A Nakiri Knife?
A nakiri knife is a classical kitchen blade crafted by the Japanese with a straight and symmetric edge. It resembles a cleaver in structure and is perfectly suited for slicing eggplants, dicing onions, and julienne tomatoes or other veggies. Once you lay your hands on this brilliant Japanese creation, it will soon become your favorite tool for easy chopping and quick slicing.
This is because contrary to other chef’s knives, it sports a rocking motion that works great on celery stalks, zucchini, carrots, onions, leeks, and hordes of other vegetables. Moreover, the blades have a large surface area which also allows it to be a suitable vessel for transport infrastructure the ingredients to the pan. All the premium nakiri knives have a full tang design and they are also fully forged.
While we are astounded by the wonder of these nakiri knives, it pays to know a bit about the history of this kitchen blade. In Japan, during the Edo era, consumption of four-legged animals was not allowed. Thus, Japanese cuisine is centered around rice, vegetables, and fish. During this era, the Japanese nakiri knife was born in the 17th century.
The design of the knife hasn’t changed much in the last four centuries. It’s the same old rectangular blade with a squared tip and a straight edge. People often confuse the nakiri knife with the usuba but there is a difference in the edge grind and the blade design. Both of them have a single bevel design implying that their sharpness is on one side. The nakiri knife is a staple instrument in Japanese kitchens and in recent times, it has gained popularity across the globe.
How To Use It?
When you use a nakiri knife for slicing vegetables, you must follow a predefined pattern. Since it comes with a straight tip, it is very easy to use. You will have to move the knife in an up and down motion rather than a horizontal motion. You must keep your fingers bent, forming a claw shape and use the knuckles to hold the vegetables in place.
Now, you can glide the knife while touching the knuckles slightly. Move-in a straight direction for an even cut and you will notice your knife reaching to the chopping board without applying any extra force. You may need some practice to acquire the skill of using a nakiri knife.
Using a nakiri knife will require a good chopping board and keep it on a flat surface while cutting on it. The grip should be substantial while being comfortable. Holding the knife in the right way is one of the most important chopping rules. Even though nakiri is mainly developed for cutting vegetables, you may also use it for cutting soft flesh like chicken or fish. But since it has a thinner and lighter blade, you mustn’t use it for deboning fish or meat bones.
The height of the blade aids in straightening a chopping action that the kitchen blade was originally devised for. Since it comes with an additional height, your knuckles will be at a higher position and remain safe while coming into contact with the board. It’s a brilliant instrument when you have to make decorations with vegetables or process a large amount of food with great speed.
How To Shop For A Nakiri
The Nakiri bocho is found in almost all Japanese households since it makes an excellent choice for the everyday chore of cutting and dicing vegetables. Shopping for a nakiri knife may appear to be a simple task, but there are several considerations that you must factor in to ensure that it turns out to be a valuable investment. Let’s take a look at the few important aspects.
Material of the blade
The most crucial consideration for your nakiri knife is the blade material. The modern knives are made of stainless steel mostly but all of them are not created equal. When shopping for any Japanese kitchen blades, you will see two types of stainless steel: high carbon and low carbon. All stainless steel comes with some amount of carbon and the amount actually determines the class of the blade.
- Low carbon: A kitchen blade with low carbon content will become much quicker compared to its counterpart with high carbon content. With carbon content, the blades are softer and you need to sharpen your blade quite often.
- High carbon: This type of blade does hold its sharpness for a very long time, sometimes, for years together. Moreover, these knives are very easy to sharpen. You won’t have to care much about its maintenance and care.
If durability and quality are your top concern, your nakiri knife should have high carbon stainless steel.
Finish of the blade
When you are chopping, veggies and herbs are prone to stick to the blade. But with the right finish of the blade, you can steer clear of this unnecessary happening. Many nakiri knives come with a hammered finish termed as tsuchime in the Japanese language. Hand-hammered finishes are crafted for reducing chances of drag while cutting and don’t allow food to stick. You can also opt for a kitchen blade with a Granton Edge for achieving the same thing. While chopping, it forms air pockets and helps food particles to release off the blade.
Besides the quality of the blade, you will also have to consider the quality of the handle. It must be very comfortable to use and shouldn’t cause discomfort or numbness even after years of use. Your nakiri bocho should have a firm grip since a slippery grip can lead to unforeseen injuries.
Nakiri knives are ergonomically designed with someone narrow and slightly curved blade. This helps in alleviating ginger pain and tiredness from a longer span of operation. The construction of the handle is so responsible for this. The handle goes through several treatments that make the knives impervious to cold, heat, and moisture.
Top Nakiri Knife To Buy
Now that you are equipped with how to select the best nakiri knife available in the market, it’s time to try the best one available in the market. The iMarku 7 inch nakiri knife is made from premium class material that makes the kitchen blade corrosion and rust-resistant. As a result, it’s deemed as one of the top-rated vegetable cleavers available online presently.
In the first place, the looks of the knife will sway you over. It has an unexpected appearance that gives a brilliant performance for helping you in everyday kitchen cuts from slicing to dicing to chopping. It is suitable for professional use just the way a home chef can use it. This helps in reducing stabbing while boosting cooking efficiency.
The blade of this knife is hand-hammered to endow it with a mirror polishing made by highly experienced craftsmen. The hardness measures 56-58 on Rockwell Hardness Scale, ensuring that the knife is solid and hard. Considering the mirror finish with 12 to 15 degrees on either side, it’s evident that the blade will be much sharper to give cutting stability to the knives.
The Bottom Line
With every iMarku knife, you get the life satisfaction of a Japanese knife. This is one of the prime reasons you can trust the iMarku 7-inch nakiri knife without a second thought. All you need to ensure is that you store it properly when it comes to care and maintenance. You should wipe it clean with a dry towel and hang it on a magnetic knife holder.
A nakiri knife is all you need when you have to prepare dishes with precisely chopped vegetables. Once you experience the ease of use and fine cuts made from this knife, there is no going back and you will want to use it for all your culinary requirements.