The Sushi Knife, Its History and Method to Cut Sushi Rolls

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Today I am writing about a very special thing the sushi and everything about it. In Japan, sushi dish is one of the most popular food team since the thousands of years ago.  Nowadays it has become one of the high-end famous dish items all over the world as well as in 5-star hotels. I wish if you like to eat and travel, you will test it at least one time in your life. Let’s talk about sushi knife, history and shush rolls.

The Sushi Knives

One of the most fascinating knives in the Japanese tradition of food preparation is the Sushi Knife. The Sushi Knives are considered a traditional specialty knife by Japanese sushi chefs and are typically used for cutting sushi rolls in both quantity as well as the knife’s ability to cut intricate or ornate designs. The tall blade provides plenty of clearance for the user’s knuckles and in most cases have a very little curve to the blade – almost like a cleaver – but are lighter and more fragile in holding their edge.

Sushi means ”sour-tasting” in Japanese and quality sushi knives are made through a process of using a round chisel stone to grind them to a razor-thin beveled blade which allows for them to cut vegetables without splitting them. Most sushi knives have a hollow backside as part of their construction.

The Kansai variation has a spine built into it but in most cases, all of these sushi knives are used for vegetable preparation. The sushi is popular with Kyoto chefs, who use the sushi knife for most of their sushi making cooking tasks which are heavy in fish content due to the region being provided saltwater tuna fish supply like Tokyo does.

The History of Japanese Sushi Knife : knife

As with most Japanese knives, Sushi knives have their roots tied to the sword industry. In fact of, the technique used by the craftsman who produced swords for the Samurai Soldiers. In the 19th century, in an effort to modernize the country, Samurai swords were made illegal (along with being a Samurai) and many of the sword manufacturers turned their efforts to creating knives for cooking and food preparation. Each manufacturer has their own techniques for creating their knives and can date back over 1000 years of tradition passed down through the generations. These, of course, are the most prized knives in the world – and many a great chef desires to own the best of that which Japan has become famous for creating. In one region of Japan, knife and sword making have dated back to 500 AD.  The city of Sakia still produces the best knife in the world using the same techniques their ancestors did more than 1500 years ago.

You would be glad to know that the majority of the sushi knives are made of single high-carbon steel.  These razor sharp blades are sharpened to a 16-degree edge – in comparison, a German steel knife is sharpened to a 22-degree edge. Best Sashimi / Sushi knives have a single beveled edge which keeps food from sticking when cutting it.  This means instead of the blade being sharpened on both sides of the sushi knife’s edge to create a V like finish – it is only sharpened on one side so that the other side stays flat. Many people find this single/double edge talk confusing – and assume it refers to the top of the sushi knife also being sharpened when a person says a double-edged blade.

It is because of this sharpening method that best sushi knife in the world is made for right-handed cutting, although there are so sharp, the difference is really minimal.

The Professional Technique to Cut Sushi Rolls : knife

It likely isn’t the coincidence that the same country that created the legendary Samurai Sword also is so well known for its razor-sharp kitchen and chef’s knives.  In fact, many Japanese knives are still made using ancient traditions passed down for 15 centuries. It also then goes to reason that the same country that produces some of the best knives in the world is also where the artistic gourmet art of sushi originated. Sushi dates back to the Muromachi period (AD 1336–1573) and has the traditional name of nare-zushi (馴れ寿司, 熟寿司,).

One of the basic elements of sushi preparation is the cutting of a sushi roll and all though not difficult, still requires technique and practice to not damage the delicate wrap of the roll – be it seaweed, soy paper, cucumber, or shiso perilla leaves.  The key is a razor sharp edge with a quick cutting motion that is sure to cut the bottom of the roll cleanly off. Upon each cut, be sure to clean the sushi blade so that it doesn’t stick to the next cut and pull out the rice or ingredients of the role.

Although chef’s will differ on the best sushi knife for cutting sushi rolls, the thinner the blade and sharpen the edge the better. Traditionally sushi knives such as Sashimi Knives or Gyuto Knives are also used to prepare sushi.

In the video below you can see the proper technique for cutting a sushi roll.