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Sushi Knives 101, All Amazing Facts You Need To Know

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There are many steps to making a sushi roll: cutting the vegetables, cutting the fish, and then cutting the roll itself. Sushi knife is multifaceted for cutting during all three, but sashimi knives are specifically made to cut fish. Looking for best Japanese Knives? We have a list of review you can check.

Sushi Knives Vs Sashimi Knives

Sushi knives are usually made of high-carbon steel (not stainless steel). This means that the steel rusts easily, but it can achieve a much sharper edge. Sushi and sashimi knives have a single beveled edge, which is a distinguishing feature. These knives have been honed so that only one side has a cutting edge and the other is flat. The flat edge prevents food from sticking to the knife.

Most sushi knives are said to be right-handed because they are better for cutting fish, while left-handed knives are better for cutting shellfish. Left-handed knives are normally produced to order and are quite costly. A single beveled edge is a defining feature of sushi and sashimi knives. Only one side of these blades has a cutting edge, while the other side is flat. The knife’s flat edge keeps food from clinging to it.

Right-handed sushi knives are thought to be superior for cutting fish, whilst left-handed knives are better for cutting shellfish. Left-handed knives are usually made to order and can be extremely expensive.

Types of Sushi Knives

These are links to information about some of the most commonly found sushi knives:

  • Yanagiba (willow-shaped)- the “standard” sashimi knife. Good for cutting sashimi and sushi rolls.
  • Deba – closest to a meat clever, the Deba is good for cutting through bones and cartilage of fish.
  • Usuba – the ideal vegetable knife, used more for fine cuts and peeling.
  • Santoku (three virtues)- used for fish, meat, and vegetables. This is a western-style knife that was designed to be a “one size fits all.” It is not a traditional knife, but it’s used a lot in Japanese homes.

There are a few more types of knives used in the sushi industry, but they are extremely rare and absolutely necessary. The knives listed above are considered “essential” for sushi making.

Buying Sushi Knives

I will discuss the Dos and Don’ts of buying knives in this section. Many websites advertise that they sell “cheap knives of high quality,” but when it comes to sushi knives, “cheap” doesn’t belong in the same sentence. Paying for something is definitely worth it.

There are two main groups of how a sushi knife is crafted:

  • Honyaki (true forged)- made from a single, high grade steel
  • Kasumi (mist)- made from two types of high grade metal (usually a hard, iron center and a softer high carbon steel)

How to Find the Best Sushi Knives

Look for a Yanagi ba knife first, as that is what you’ll be looking for. Make the selection of knives based on one piece of steel for the blade, a D-shaped grip for stability and comfort, and the brand from which they are made.

Nowadays, there are many brands that claim to make high-quality Japanese knives, but I prefer a brand that is tested and respected in the market, mostly out of peace of mind. Here are four top choices that include all of the features and design elements we look for in a good quality sushi knife.

It may be more difficult to find a left handed sushi knife, but it is not impossible. Left-handed sushi knives are available that are specially designed for left-handers.

Upkeep for your Sushi Knives

Sashimi and sushi can only be made beautifully by keeping the blade as sharp as possible. This means you must take care not to damage the blade, let it rust, or let it become dull. Would you mind telling me how you do that?

  • Make sure you don’t drop the knife in the sink, which could damage it.
  • Utilize a cutting board made for the purpose.
  • After using your knife, hand wash and dry it immediately.
  • Make sure the knife is regularly honed.
  • You should use a sharpening stone of good quality to sharpen your blade.

How to Slice Fish for Sushi and Sashimi

As soon as you’ve found the best sushi knife, you’ll want to learn how to slice fish properly. Fish can often be purchased at the market in sushi grade and brought home to be sliced yourself. We add sashimi to our monthly meal plan at least once a month since it’s so healthy and easy to make at home. The low-carb diet works for us and we’ve been following it for quite some time.

If the fish piece you’re using isn’t precut, you should square it up to about the width of four fingers. A 45-degree angle will be used to slice the fish. With a sushi knife, you slice the fish with a pulling motion, so place the heal of the blade at a 45-degree angle on the fish and pull the knife toward you, slicing the fish from the heal to the point with one fluid motion.

If you are cutting the fish for nigiri or sashimi, the size of the slices will vary. Sashimi slices are usually thicker than nigiri slices, but since you’re making your own sushi, you can choose how the fish is cut.

Cutting Sushi Rolls

Sushi knives can also be used to cut through sushi rolls. Use a regular kitchen knife and you’ll see how difficult it is to cut through a roll without destroying the nori wrapper or squashing the ingredients inside.

Make sure the blade of the Yanagi ba is sharp before using it to cut sushi rolls. Apply a little water or rice vinegar to the blade of the knife to keep it from sticking to the rice.

To cut through the roll, use the knife’s butt against the roll and pull towards you slowly. Just like when cutting fish, you use your knife to slice the roll from end to end.

Using plastic wrap tightly and cutting through it is another trick sushi chefs use to cut through inside-out rolls cleanly. Upon removal of the plastic, the roll remains intact and looks good.

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