There are many types of kitchen knives on the market each with its own shape and function. These types of Japanese kitchen knives can be made into categories according to their usage. The categorization is such as the following:
Cutting fish, chicken and meat
Usually, deba bochos are used to cut fish. They are also used to cut chicken and meat.
The two types of knives that are used to cut veggies are the nakiri bocho and usuba bocho. Among their characteristics are:
- You don’t need to give it a push or pull it horizontally as they have a straight blade edge suitable for cutting all the way to the cutting board.
- These knives have much thinner blades in comparison with the deba bochos.
- Thinner blades would mean they are not suitable for cutting small bones in fish or meat. However, they do an excellent job in cutting vegetables.
- Nakiri bocho has a black blade.
- Depending on the origin of the knives, they will have a rectangular shape if they’re from Tokyo and have a rounded corner on the far blunt side if they are from Osaka. They’ve got cutting edge that is called the ryoba, which means angled from both sides. Therefore, giving you the impeccable straight slices.
- Both knives are lighter than the deba bochos but the usuba is slightly heavier than the nakiri.
The type of knives that are used to slice raw fish and seafood are the tako hikis, yanagi bas and the fugu hikis. The following are some of their characteristics:
- The tako hikis are usually used to prepare octopus.
- You might not notice the differences between the fugu hiki and the yanagi ba at a first glance. A fugu hiki has a thinner blade and it is also more flexible. They’ve been traditionally used to slice very thin fugu sashimis.
To fillet an eel, a specialized knife known as unagisaki hocho is used. It has a sharp pointy tip. This pointy tip is used to push the knife through the eel’s head. And then to open its flesh, it is slid through body of the eel towards the tail. However, their shape might differ depending on the place of origin.
Making Japanese noodles
To make Japanese noodles, whether soba or udon, the udon kiri or the soba kiri are used. You may find others refer it as menkiri bocho, its other name. These knives are used to cut flattened and folded dough to make long rectangular noodles.
Filleting the big catch
Oroshi hocho and the hancho hocho are used to fillet large fish such as tuna. The hancho hocho is shorter than the orosi hocho. Typical length would be 150 cm for the oroshi hocho while the hancho hocho is 100 cm long. You might find others refer the hancho hocho as maguro kiri.