If you are conversant with kitchen tools, you will realize the Santoku knife is one of the best tools for cutting, dicing, and mincing every ingredient in the kitchen that needs it.
But if you are getting to learn about unique kitchen utensils, you might as well know that no other knife does the cutting better than Japanese knives like the Santoku.
The Santoku knife’s versatility has helped it access almost every modern-day kitchen. All vegetables and fruits, meat and seafood, tubers and cheese can be made to assume any shape as it suits the chef or user with this masterpiece.
The Santoku knife is a ‘must-have’ in the home kitchen and for the professional chef. It stretches to a wide range of uses, and its lightweight nature makes it exceptionally comfortable for whichever task you are embarking on.
What is a Santoku Knife?
The Santoku knife is a multipurpose kitchen knife of Japanese origin used for cutting, slicing, mincing, chopping, and dicing food and other cooking ingredients. The word ‘santoku’ in Japan means ‘3 uses’. You may easily counter that fact because its uses have grown more than just three.
The knife is easily recognizable because of its outstanding features in physical look and use. These features have made it adopted for almost all activities in the kitchen where cutting is involved.
What Are the Uses of Santoku Knife?
The uses of the Santoku knife range from tearing, dicing, slicing, cutting, and chopping to mincing of vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, lettuce, broccoli, and carrots, meat including fish and other seafood, and small-sized tubers like yam or potatoes.
1. For slicing boneless meat
Santoku handles chicken, beef, and other kinds of meat well. It may not be the best tool for meat with hard or compact bone but it sure cuts the boneless meat into the desired form.
You could use a santoku knife to cut cooked liver into block shapes, dice beef for frying, or slice beef into flat fans or tiny pieces for all kinds of pie.
A large chunk of meat can be reduced into smaller pieces for storage with the Santoku knife. Chicken, beef, snail, shrimp, and all meat for cooking can be put into desired size and shape with the knife
2. For cutting vegetables
Sometimes you may need your onions in blocks, carrots round, or cabbage shredded. No matter the shape and size, the santoku is built to handle it. Depending on the user’s skills, a santoku knife is used to achieve complex technicalities in cutting all types of vegetables.
3. For slicing fruits
Just a few fruits are swallowed whole, not all are blended for juice. Some fruits are chopped or sliced into suitable shapes for eating, such as fruit salad or mince. A santoku knife is used to achieve the cutting of fruits into forms. Bananas, apples, watermelon, kiwi, and other fruits can be put into the desired shape of the chef with the santoku knife.
4. Achieving culinary designs
Expensive restaurants and eateries use sharp and precise knives like Santoku to achieve food designs. Not every knife will give the perfect cut and knife art in food as the Santoku knife. Perfectly cut-out fruits and uniform vegetable slicing just as it appease the eyes of consumers and suits the chef’s design.
5. For chopping tubers
Not all tubers need santoku. Peeling of yam, potatoes, or other fruits such as pawpaw and pineapple is not best achieved with the knife, but when precise chopping is needed, the santoku is most suitable.
Sweet potatoes and yam either boiled or raw can be chopped to the desired shape with the santoku knife. Large-sized yams may be difficult with the knife, but other bulky knives can be used to reduce them to a choppable size.
6. For gathering and scooping
The Santoku knife is light and has a flat wide surface. This feature helps the user gather all cut ingredients like vegetables from scattering all over the chopping area.
The flat wide blade is also used to scoop the cut ingredients into a bowl or pot. Chopping with the knife fastens the cooking process. No further tool is needed for gathering and scooping when your knife can do it all.
7. For fish and seafood preparation
Preparing fish and seafood is an art that demands precision, delicacy, and retention of ingredients’ natural flavor and texture. The Santoku knife’s sharpness and versatility make it an excellent tool to achieve these demands.
The thin blade is ideal for filleting, skinning, trimming, portioning, and slicing fish for sushi and sashimi. You can also use it for deveining shrimps, shucking oysters, and opening scallops with ease.
What are the basic features of the Santoku knife?
The lightweight nature of the Santoku knife makes it very easy to handle. The feature gives it a lead role compared to its lookalike, the Western chef knife. You can go on a marathon chopping race without feeling the weight of this tool you bear.
2. Thin sharp edge
Every cutting instrument has a sharp edge, but not as compared to a real Santoku knife. Its flat edge with a thin blade allows for a precise cutting pattern giving a thinly sliced cut of meat, vegetables, and any other ingredients. The thin sharp edge also sustains its sharpness for a time longer than that of other knives.
3. Perfect round handle for precision grip
No matter how long you hold onto a santoku knife, you will feel no pain or blisters from friction between the tool and the part of the body in touch. This is possible because the knife handle fits the area of the hand that grips it.
The Santoku knife has a one-side sharpened edge with a length of about 6-8cm which is a perfect size to cut through stuff depending on the user’s skills.
5. The material used in making
Though the Santoku knife may vary a bit in design and handle color, they are all made from the same materials as, stainless steel, carbon steel, Damascus steel, and so on.
How is Santoku Different from Western Chef’s Knife?
Despite the similarities between the santoku and the Western chef knife, they still possess some differences. These differences help to know which knife is best for what.
The difference between the Santoku and Western knife lies in its origin, physical features, and most preferred uses, but the first noticeable difference is the nature of the blade. Some of the differences are:
- While the santoku knife has a Japanese origin, the Western chef knife, as the name sounds, is more from Europe.
- The Santoku knife has thin blades, unlike the Western chef knife with larger blades. The larger blades of the Western chef knife make it unsuitable for some precise cutting and for achieving thin slices. The thinner blade will stay sharp for a very long time more than the western chef knife.
- The Santoku knife comes without a bolster, and its metal is lighter, while the Western chef knife has a bolster and is produced with heavier stainless metal.
- The lightweight nature of the Santoku knife makes it easier to handle, unlike the Western chef knife. Because santokus are smaller than the Western chef knife, they are usually a bit lighter.
- The Santoku knife is usually smaller in size when compared to the Western chef knife. The length of the santoku knife varies from 5 to 8 cm, unlike the western chef knife with a length of about 6 to 10cm
Now you know why you see Santoku knives in every kitchen. Its versatility in the cooking space is applaudable. The knife will be the perfect knife for your start-up kitchen because purchasing multipurpose utensils before dedicated tools is the best way to start.
Once there’s a Santoku knife in the kitchen, all dicing, cutting, mincing, and slicing are easier. Having seen the differences it has from the Western chef knife, you know which knife is best for what.