Nakiri - Origin & Use

Nakiri - Origin & Use

Posted by Ramon Elzinga on


With its straight edge, near symmetrical blade, the full length of the rectangular Nakiri is a sight to behold. This physical feature is not just for an elegant aesthetic however, as the knife is designed to be a utilitarian chopper.

The term "nakiri bocho" in Japanese means “vegetable cutter” or “cutting greens”. Despite looking like a cleaver upon first glance the discerning viewer would be able see that it is something else entirely. These blades are thinner, lighter and as they are traditionally made with Japanese high carbon steels such as Koi Knives’ Damascus AUS10 steel they are considerably more refined.

The lineage of the Nakiri can be traced back to the 17th century in Japan where they are one of the two knives found in a typical household, the Nakiri would be the specialised knife for vegetables and the other would commonly be the Deba (for meat and fish).

To this day the Nakiri is one of the most celebrated knives in Japan.

Purpose & Use

Designed specifically for the rapid up and down chopping style, where a chef is either an experienced rapid chopper or made into one by the grace of this knife.

Stringy vegetable fibres are efficiently severed with each rhythmic chop as the razor sharp Japanese steel strikes the cutting board. Structurally this blade is also designed for ease in making straight slices as the cutting edge is angled on both sides, called ryoba in Japanese.

The broad, flat blade is the ideal option for cutting thin and evenly distributed slices while shielding your knuckles at the same time.

For the refined palate the thinness of this blade is essential in retaining the taste and texture of certain vegetables as a thicker blade would likely split the vegetable fibres instead of cleanly slicing it.

It not only the perfect tool for carrots, onions, leeks, eggplants, zucchinis and julienne vegetables, this blade is an infusion of confidence in the kitchen by simply being a joy to use!

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Japanese - Nakiri Know How

Nakiri Cutting Techniques

Nakiri Cutting Techniques

By Ramon Elzinga

Getting the most out of your Nakiri is all about technique. See our video all about handling this excellent veggie chopper.

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