Why the Nakiri Knife?
The Nakiri knife is a vegetable knife with a tall, flat, and extremely sharp blade that might look a little intimidating for first-timers. Its flat blade lends itself easily to the push/pull chopping of veggies. It is not a very common feature in Western kitchens but it is a superb knife for vegetables that you should have in your kitchen knife arsenal.
During the chopping process, the Nakiri knife’s entire flat edge will touch the cutting board at once thereby maximizing the cutting efficiency. The Nakiri knife cuts the vegetable clean and you don’t have to grapple with strands or hanging half-cut vegetable pieces after a downward stroke of the knife. The blade is also relatively heavy and enables it to efficiently fall through the vegetables when you are chopping it. When you use a Nakiri knife to chop up vegetables, this Japanese knife, rather than your hand, does most of the work. Add this to the lightweight and the sharpness edge and you have a kitchen workhorse that will make cutting or chopping your vegetables a breeze.
Here is a look at some of the most common questions that users ask about the Nakiri knife.
What is the Nakiri Knife?
As Japanese, as it looks, the Nakiri is actually a Western-style chef’s knife that was “Japanized” over a century ago. It is a medium length and rectangular knife but with a very wide blade. Typical lengths range from 120mm to 240mm. The most suitable length for most users would be about 165mm. The Nakiri knife is primarily used for vegetables.
In Japanese, this knife is referred to as Nakiri bōchō which directly translates to ‘leafcutter’ or ‘knife for cutting greens’. The Nakiri knife really looks like a ‘leafcutter’. Its very design is built for efficiently chopping up vegetables.
The blade of a Nakiri knife has a thin and broad rectangular shape with a straight cutting edge. The tip of the knife is flat and blunt. This design is well-suited for quick and efficient chopping, dicing, slicing, and mincing of your fruits and vegetables. In Japan, the Nakiri knife is widely used by vegetarians and home cooks. The Nakiri knife is a fixture in many Japanese homes, particularly among the vegetarian cooks.
Where Does the Nakiri Knife Fit in Your Kitchen?
The Nakiri will be your kitchen’s leaf cutter. This is the knife to have for chopping up vegetables in your kitchen. The build of the blade is highly suited for this kind of task. The long and flat edge of the Nakiri knife along with the relative weight of these leaf cutters adds to the efficiency and enables you to do clean cuts in broad vegetables. They are so sharp and relatively weighty that a single downward motion will cut the vegetables all through to the chopping board. The ultra-sharp edge of the Nakiri knife also allows you to make the cleaner cuts so that even after cutting, the vegetable stays intact and will retain the fresh and crisp edges.
How Long is the Nakiri Knife?
Nakiri knives have lengths ranging from 120mm to 240mm. The most recommended and most common length for Nakiri knives is usually 165mm. This size will suit the majority of cooks and chefs irrespective of their sizes or sizes of their hands. It is also easier to wield.
What is the typical spine width of the Nakiri Knife?
Nakiri knives are ultra-thin Japanese knives. The typical spine width is about 1.5mm to 2.5mm which tapers off the tall blade towards the sharp and straight edges of the knives.
What is the blade profile of the Nakiri Knife like?
The Nakiri blade is thin and tall rectangular. The cutting edge is straight and the tip is flat and blunt. The straight edge of the Nakiri knife enables you to cut straight to the chopping board without having to fall back on a rock-cutting motion or a pull/push-cut. The Nakiri knife edge is straight all through without a belly or curve so you will only use it in a vertical or downward cutting motion in which the knife delivers great efficacy.
What is the Nakiri Knife Best Suited for/What Does it Cut?
The Nakiri knife blade is tall and allows the cook or chef to quickly glide through the vegetable in just one downward stroke. This blade produces clean chops when used on vegetables. It will work even on the root vegetables. You can also use Nakiri knives on the thick squashes. The blade is also thin enough to be used on the delicate vegetables which you can cut in single strokes without ripping off their skins. This gives your veggies very crisp edges with every slice.
What is the Nakiri Knife Not Suited For?
The Nakiri knife must seem like a big and intimidating knife but it is actually ultra-thin and very lightweight and is therefore not suited for heavy-duty kitchen work. This is certainly not the knife for cutting through bones, cartilage, or even frozen food. Its efficacy in vegetable chopping is also its weakness. This is not a multi-use and versatile knife that you can put into other uses such as slicing, cutting, and dicing meat and fish. It’s strictly for vegetables.
What is Nakiri Knife’s Core Strengths?
Nakiri’s core strength is in chopping, dicing, slicing, and mincing your vegetables and fruits. Its uber-efficient in this kind of work and will give you very neat slices and pieces. Its broad rectangular blade along with its sharp and straight edge is built for downward and up and down chopping motion. The whole blade will glide through your vegetables up to the chopping board which introduces a great deal of efficiency in how you handle your vegetables. If you are a vegetarian chef or cook lots of vegetables, this is a knife that will save you lots of time and make cutting vegetables a cakewalk.
It’s an ultra-thin and very light workhorse that you will consistently give you clean and even vegetable cuts. It is efficient and once you have mastered it, it allows you to easily chop up your vegetables in fluid downward or up and down motion.
Who Should Use the Nairi Knife/Who Does this Knife Match/Does it Suit You?
Nakiri knives are highly recommended Japanese Knives for vegetarian cooks or chefs. If the various kinds of vegetables are a staple of your diet and you need a dedicated and reliable vegetable knife, then your kitchen knife collection must include a Nakiri knife. Its qualities as discussed above will add a great deal of efficiency to your prepping work and help you save on time. Once you have mastered the use of the Nakiri in chopping up your vegetables, you will find its use quite enjoyable.