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Japanese Santoku Knives

The All-Purpose Blades of Japan

If you're a fan of Japanese cuisine, or if you just appreciate the art of cooking in general, you've likely heard of Santoku knives. These versatile kitchen tools are a staple in Japanese kitchens, and for good reason. Here's everything you need to know about Japanese Santoku knives.

What is a Santoku Knife?

Santoku is a Japanese word that literally translates to "three virtues," referring to the three types of tasks that this knife is designed to excel at: slicing, dicing, and mincing. Santoku knives are typically shorter and lighter than Western chef's knives, with a straighter edge and a slightly curved spine. They have a shorter blade length (usually around 5-7 inches) and a thinner blade profile, which makes them great for precision cutting and maneuverability.

Santoku knives are often compared to Western chef's knives, but there are a few key differences between the two. While chef's knives are designed for a wide range of tasks, Santoku knives are specifically tailored for slicing, dicing, and mincing. Additionally, Santoku knives have a shorter blade length and a thinner blade profile, which makes them easier to handle and more precise.

Why are Santoku Knives Popular in Japan?

Santoku knives have a long history in Japan, dating back to the 1800s. They became popular in the post-World War II era, when Western-style chef's knives began to be imported into Japan. Japanese chefs found that the long, heavy Western chef's knives were not well-suited for the precise cuts required in traditional Japanese cuisine, and so they adapted the Santoku knife to meet their needs.

Today, Santoku knives are a staple in Japanese kitchens and are used by professional chefs and home cooks alike. They are valued for their versatility and precision, and are a go-to choice for many tasks in the kitchen.

How to Use a Santoku Knife

Santoku knives are designed for a variety of tasks in the kitchen, and can be used for slicing, dicing, and mincing a wide range of ingredients. They are particularly well-suited for cutting small or delicate items, such as herbs, vegetables, and seafood.

To use a Santoku knife, hold the handle with your dominant hand and place your index finger on top of the blade, near the spine. This will give you better control and precision while cutting. Begin by slicing through the ingredient with a back-and-forth motion, using the tip of the blade to guide the cut. To dice an ingredient, first slice it into thin slices, then stack the slices and cut them into small cubes. To mince, use a rocking motion to finely chop the ingredient.

Caring for Your Santoku Knife

Like any good kitchen knife, Santoku knives require proper care to maintain their sharpness and longevity. Here are a few tips for caring for your Santoku knife:

  • Use a sharpening stone or honing rod regularly to maintain the edge of the blade.
  • Wash and dry your Santoku knife thoroughly after each use.
  • Avoid using the Santoku knife on hard or abrasive surfaces, as this can dull the blade.
  • Store your Santoku knife in a knife block or on a magnetic knife strip to protect the blade and keep it within easy reach.

Japanese Santoku knives are an essential tool in any kitchen, and are beloved by professional chefs and home cooks alike for their versatility and precision. Whether you're slicing, dicing ,or mincing. Join Togu's sharpening subscription service to receive your own pair of Santoku knives at home!