Since the ultimate function of a knife is cutting, many people often wonder if there’s a need for a special knife like the Santoku knife. Indeed, there is. While a knife looks like the most basic kitchen utensil in the eyes of many, there is more to this blade than meets the eye. If you are hoping to sharpen your culinary skills, you better consider getting yourself a Santoku knife.
In this article, let’s look at the Santoku knife uses and the benefits of having one. With proper knife knowledge and care, the Santoku blade is a powerhouse in any kitchen for its unique design and sturdy construction.
What is a Santoku Knife?
A Santoku knife is a uniquely designed kitchen knife with a Japanese origin. It is popularly called “sheep’s foot” because of its unique blade design resembling a sheep’s foot. However, most modern designs have deviated from this look as there are other designs, albeit similar to the original design.
The Santoku knife usually measures 6 to 7 inches long, while the blade has a curve that runs from the spine to the tip. This is quite different from the regular chef’s knife you are used to. Also, the blade has a flat edge, a feature that also varies from the western chef’s knife, which has a curved belly. It is uniquely designed to handle push cutting (an up and down chopping technique used by most chefs).
Furthermore, the knife cut requires lifting the blade in between cuts; this unique cutting technique is different from the rock chop method used by chefs.
Uses of Santoku Knife
The word Santoku means “three virtues” in Japanese; hence Santoku knife has three unique uses, namely slicing, mincing, and chopping.
A Santoku knife is well equipped to handle any slicing job brought before it. From raw meats, fresh vegetables to cooked meals, and other ingredients, it will do a fine job of cutting your food items in no time. All that’s required is to sharpen the knife well. It cuts through the skin of any food ingredient quickly without ripping off the skin of vegetables or the flesh of meats.
Some Santoku knives boast a Granton edge feature, making it easier to slice through fishes and butterfly your chicken breast, steaks, pork chops, and others to perfection without the skin sticking to the blade, making cooking neat and enjoyable.
A Santoku knife can also be used for chopping food items; the technique applied is different from what you are used to. Hence, you will need to practice a bit before getting the hang of it. The knife’s flat edge will have to be raised between each cut rather than use the regular rock chop technique used by western chefs (in this case, the knife stays firm on the board as you cut).
Having the right cutting board will make things easy, so also is sharpening the knife from time to time as the knife is required to be very sharp to do a good job.
To chop any food ingredient, ensure your cutting board is placed firmly on a flat surface. Align the flat part of the blade on the knuckles of your hand while holding the knife. Ensure your fingers are placed in a curled position.
Next, start chopping. Follow an up and down motion with the knife slightly tilted forward while raising the blade off the board as you cut. As you get more familiar and comfortable with the chopping technique, you can increase your pace for a quick result.
When it comes to cutting minced herbs, such as garlic, ginger, and other ingredients that require fine cuts, a santoku knife is your best bet. Its Granton edge helps prevent food ingredients from sticking to the blade while also preventing delicate herbs from tearing (a situation that can alter the meal’s flavor). Also, the weight, and the length of the blade, offer great control between cuts.
Additionally, the blade’s width is designed to help scoop food ingredients; just as long as you use the spine rather than the edge of the blade, the food ingredient won’t have to roll off the blade or chip the sharpened edge, which often leads to a dull knife.
How to Horne Your Santoku Knife
Learning to sharpen a santoku knife requires practice and patience as it takes time to master the skill. Since most Santoku knives feature Granton edge and double bevels, the sharpening process isn’t the same as other regular knives.
To sharpen your santoku knife properly, you will need first to familiarize yourself with your knife’s specification as the sharpening angle and degree may vary. It’s best to practice first, especially if you will be using a whetstone, which will help you sharpen each side of the blade at the right angle.
The process sounds tedious, right? I bet it does, but using a home electric sharpener (as you surely tempted to do right now) will make things worse. It can destroy the Granton edge of the knife. So, your best bet is to either use a whetstone or have a professional handle the job for you.
Why Use a Santoku Knife?
While we agree that the Santoku knife requires practice and mastery, gets blunt easily, and does not work well with a home electric sharpener, it’s still a good cooking utensil to have in your kitchen arsenal. Here are some reasons it is worth purchasing:
- Heavy Duty and Versatile: The Santoku knife can be used for mincing, dicing, and chopping, making it a versatile kitchen blade. But beyond that, it’s a power horse needed in every kitchen for its versatility.
- Precision Cuts: Santoku blades are thin and lightweight; this feature ensures ease of use and maneuverability. Also, the knives feature a hollow edge; this creates air pockets between the food and the knife, thereby preventing the crumbs from sticking to the knife.
- Versatility: The santoku knife isn’t limited to just one design or pattern; there are several others with variation in size, shape, design, material, and construction. This gives you a variety of options to choose from.
Cooking is fun, but cooking with the right equipment is even more fun. Now that you are familiar with santoku knife uses, it’s time to go into your kitchen and whip out something delicious that will have everyone craving for more.
Last update on 2021-05-04 at 11:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.