When we think of good food, an image of different types of pieces of vegetables or meat comes in our mind. A kitchen knife is a tool that makes these pieces look aesthetic. There are many types of kitchen knives available, according to their use.
The Santoku knife is a kitchen knife that has its origin in Japan. It has a 5” to 8” long blade along with a straight edge. The back spine of the blade makes a curve of about 60o at the tip. So, it resembles the sheep’s foot. It can cut, mince, or dice any of the kinds of kitchen stuff like fruits, vegetables, fish, or meat.
The kitchen workers can use it as per their requirements. Though it looks like the chef knife, it is slightly smaller in size. It has a thin blade that makes it lightweight. That’s why it is easy to handle. Although it is an essential kitchen tool in Japan, it is popular with western chefs too.
The Santoku came into existence about 70 to 80 years back in Japan. It has its roots in traditional vegetable peeler nakiri. It has the same weight and size as that of nakiri, but the shape differs a little. Besides, Santoku has a sheep foot tip at the end of the edge.
It has taken its name from the Japanese word Santoku which means three virtues. As it can perform many functions, it became popular with chefs worldwide, apart from Japan.
Construction and Shape
Japan has a rich history of making swords, daggers, and knives. The Santoku knife is an aesthetic creation of Japan.
The Japanese people use reinforced steel to make the Santoku knife. This steel gives the required toughness and hardness to the blade of the knife.
The weight and size of the handle of this knife also remain proportionate to that of the knife blade. This knife is short and lightweight. It has no bolster.
An Important feature of the Santoku knife is its flat blade. The back spine of the blade makes a curve of about 60o at the tip to form a blunt tip, which resembles a sheep foot. That’s why people call it the sheep foot blade. It is a unique feature. It increases its working efficiency.
The chef’s knife has a pointed tip. We have to move it back and forth simultaneously while cutting the material. The Santoku knife cuts the stuff neatly without making back and forth motion. As this knife has a flat tip, it requires less space and effort. Therefore it is useful in making fine slices of fish or meat. Its bottom edge remains straight.
It is the angle at the bottom of the edge. It forms the cutting edge. The sharper blades have an extreme Bevel.
The chef’s knives are of double Bevel, having an angle between 25o to 30o. These have both sides of the blade tapered. On the other hand, the Santoku knives have a single Bevel of about 15o. So these are sharper.
Owing to the hardness and sharpness of the blade, it makes fine slices of the meat or vegetables. And it remains in use longer with efficiency. Hence it is a natural choice of professional chefs worldwide.
Some makers in Japan use laminated steel with traditional Japanese pattern over it. Some makers use forged stainless steel to reinforce the strength of the knife. It also prevents rusting and increases the sharpness of the edge.
Apart from the traditional Santoku knives, their western versions are also available. The western versions are slightly heavier and, some have double Bevel too. Some western versions have hollowed circular dots across the edge. This type of edge is called a Granton edge. The dots increase neatness besides reducing our efforts in cutting the stuff.
The Santoku knife has a lot of use in the kitchen. Its name means three virtues. Three virtues stand for fish, meat and vegetable, or three actions slicing, chopping, and dicing. It is a kitchen multitasker. It can make fine slices of the material to enhance the beauty of the food preparations, especially Japanese food. The Japanese food is famous for the fine slices it uses.
The Santoku knife requires careful handling. Do not cut rigid and stiff material forcefully. It might damage its fine cutting edge. We should use very little and uniform force while cutting or slicing material.
We have to wash it after use, with lukewarm water by our hands only. And wipe it smoothly by a soft piece of cloth. We should not use any rough material to clean or wipe it, because, it may damage the surface of the blade. We should wash the Santoku knife separately without using any mechanical devices. Keep it at a clean and dry place after cleaning and drying it.
Makers use very thin and hard steel to make the Santoku knife. We have to be extra careful while sharpening it. Using a high-quality sharpening stone is advisable.
We should clean the blade and stone both by water before sharpening and should keep the stone wet during sharpening.
We should place the edge of the blade on the stone, making an angle of about 15o. And move it back and forth, simultaneously giving a little pressure. If it is a double bevel knife, we will repeat this process on the other side too.
Selecting Santoku Knife
The cutting edge is the main feature of a Santoku knife. While purchasing the Santoku knife, we should give due consideration to it. It should be smooth and sharp. We should go for a handy and easy to handle version. Its price should be affordable to our pocket.
In the above article, we have tried to give some idea about the Santoku knife. We have come to know that it is a kitchen knife of Japanese origin.
It can perform all kitchen tasks like chopping, dicing, cutting, and slicing and is capable of making fine pieces and slices of the material. Further, it is a very handy and convenient knife. These qualities make it a favorite knife of chefs.
Hope this article gives you some idea about The Santoku knife.