Expand Your Repertoire with A Nakiri Knife

Bring new life to your culinary skill set with a nakiri knife. These Japanese knives are a cross-cultural essential for anyone who loves a strong chopping action for veggies combined with the ability to debone, tenderize or cut through choice pieces of meat. Shaped a little bit like the Western meat cleaver, but crafted to Asian culinary specifications, the nakiri is quickly making its way into modern kitchens. See why people love this versatile knife when you shop the wide selection of finely crafted nakiris at Williams Sonoma.

What Is A Nakiri Knife?

A nakiri or nakiri b_ch_ is a mid-length knife with a rectangular shape, somewhat similar to a meat cleaver. Designed to be slightly more compact than the cleaver, these knives are lightweight, sharp and made to refine your kitchen cutting.

Pair yours with a santoku for a solid every Eastern knife set.

  • The slim cleaver style is easy to grip and wield while working on everyday meals or special occasion dinners.
  • Made for cutting greens and vegetables, this knife makes a clean chop through piles of leaves without crushing or bruising any delicate ingredients.
  • Since it's very sharp, you can use to cut stronger veggies like celery stalks or Asian lettuces with tightly bunched bases or stems.
  • The cutting edge is angled from both sides for the cutting of straight slices. This varies slightly from other Japanese knives which tend to beveled on one side for a finer cutting angle.
  • Japanese cutlers and home chefs call the unique double edge of the nakiri "ryōba."

Similar to the nakiri is the usuba knife or usuba b_ch_. This knife is designed for professional chefs, although highly experienced home cooks often graduate to this blade style.

  • Here, the cutting edge is angled only from one side, known as "kataba" in Japanese.
  • The kataba usuba blade allows thinner slices, but requires more skill in handling. An even rhythm when prepping is a must.
  • This pro's version is heavier than the average nakiri. Feel free to enhance your skills by choosing a heavier nakiri to start.

When to Use Your Nakiri Knife

This knife is meant to be an everyday tool. Rely on it for an interesting variety of produce you're likely to already enjoy in your home.

  • Slice through harder veggies, like squash or sweet potatoes, with ease. Normally, the outer skin or tough flesh of these when raw makes cutting a process. With the nakiri, it's a much quicker task.
  • Match sticking carrots or potatoes is a matter of a few easy, clean chops. The double-edged blade comes in handy for these sorts of cuts.
  • Daikon radish slices turn out delightfully thin with a knife of this caliber. These radishes are a classic Eastern ingredient, so look for many varieties to see what your new knife can do.
  • Melons when firm can offer resistance to cutting. When ripe, the juice can spill. Using a nakiri helps you get the perfect cut to retain flesh and juice.

Enjoy this knife as a fresh addition to the arsenal of a creative daily home cook.

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