You cannot be a kitchen enthusiast without having a good nakiri knife. Most fans of Japanese utensils decide this is the knife they want to start their collection with. Once you understand how to get the best out of your nakiri knife, it’s easy to see why.
A nakiri is a vegetable knife with a wide, straight blade with a blunt nose – in other words, it doesn’t have a tip. This alone makes it a unique sight among most regular knives.
The shape also lets you know how to use it. You shouldn’t rock it back and forwards as regular knives. Instead, you should use it either in an up and down motion or slicing backward and forwards while making the same up and down movement.
This unique way of cutting gives you the possibility of cutting veggies in a much faster and efficient way. This also means you’ll end up with a fairly clean-cut, especially compared to a regular knife.
Before we begin explaining how to get the best out of your nakiri knife, we’ll go over the five most popular products, just so you can have a clue of what we’re talking about.
Best Nakiri Knives – Top 5
1. TUO Osprey Series Nakiri
This is a perfect knife with a quality that exceeds the price point. It can chop both hard and juicy vegetables with ease and will go easy enough on herbs so they don’t bruise. The full-tang blade makes the knife heavy enough to feel balanced, reducing the necessary effort when it comes to chopping and ensuring everything is easy to use.
The biggest downside of this blade is that it is somewhat thick. While this doesn’t ruin its effectiveness, it reduces the elegance. Also, the design is kept very simple, especially when compared to most other knives. Still, this is an excellent starter knife.
- Thick blade
2. Yoshihiro 46 Hammered Damascus Usuba
This is a lightweight yet powerful knife that can chop through almost anything. It has a pretty, soft-hammered Damascus finish and a handle made of mahogany and redwood. The blade cover is made of magnolia, and it ensures safety and sharpness that will last for a very long time.
This is a premium knife, and it comes with a premium price. Unfortunately, it’s very delicate and requires quite a lot of maintenance, which makes the higher price point seem a bit unjustified. However, it’s lightweight, with a perfect performance, so if you have the extra time for maintenance, this might be the perfect knife for you.
- Hammered finish
- Expensive yet delicate
3. Yoshihiro VG-10
This knife combines the best of the Western and Eastern worlds. It combines a razor-sharp nakiri blade with the comfortable grip of a chef’s knife. It has a full-tang, making it perfectly balanced, keeping the center point around half an inch toward the blade.
Despite the robust handle, the knife is lightweight and slender, and it can move through vegetables and herbs with ease. However, the issue is that the handle and the blade combined are a bit inelegant and they can pinch or rub on your index finger. This can badly influence the performance. Still, if you’re used to a chef’s knife but want to try a Japanese-styled blade, this is a good product to start it.
- Combines Western-style handle with the Eastern-style blade
- Hammered finish
- Somewhat uncomfortable
4. Wusthof Classic Hollow Edge
This nakiri knife is proof that a small package can work great things. It has a short and thin blade with a low profile, making it a great choice for people with small hands. Its size also means it can handle tiny vegetables with ease. While comfortable to hold, it might be a bit uncomfortable for people with larger hands.
The handle is plastic, making it inelegant, although lightweight. Also, the size might not be the best for some larger, firm vegetables. However, if you can deal with its smaller size, this is a perfect knife for anyone who struggled with such large knives before.
- Thin and lightweight
- Can be too small for some people
5. TradaFor Usuba
If you’re looking for a good nakiri knife on a budget, you should consider taking a look at this one. This is a fine blade perfect for handling soft vegetables such as squash. It comes with a comfortable bolster and an elegant and durable handle that feels pleasant in the hands.
The knife does a great job considering its price point – but keep in mind it still won’t work as well as some more expensive products. It is somewhat heavy, which might be okay for people who have issues being precise with lightweight products. All of this is meaningless if you consider that this nakiri knife is between two and three times cheaper than all of the other products we’ve listed.
- Durable handle
- Not the strongest product on the market
What Is A Nakiri Knife Used For
Now that you know what a nakiri knife is, you might have an idea about what foods you can cut with it. Once you understand that, you’ll know how to get the best out of your nakiri knife.
This isn’t a knife made for chopping meat. Instead, it’s made for cutting vegetables and fruit. This means you can use it for:
- All kinds of potatoes
- Summer squash
- All kinds of fruit
And many more.
Why You Need A Nakiri Knife In Your Kitchen
Have you ever ordered omakase at your favorite Japanese restaurant? If you have, you’ve probably seen a nakiri knife live in action. This knife looks like a cleaver, but it’s designed for more precise chopping action.
Many people who’ve tried using a nakiri knife swear by it, and it has become a ‘must-have’ piece in the kitchen. This classic Japanese-style blade is ideal for all the things we’ve mentioned above. If you want to dice vegetables – there is no better way to do it than to use a nakiri knife!
How To Take Care Of A Nakiri Knife
If you wonder how to get the best out of your nakiri knife, you have to take good care of it. These knives can be somewhat difficult to maintain, so this is important.
Here are a few steps if you want your nakiri knife to stay in a good condition for a long period of time.
This type of knife needs to be cleaned after every use. It’s delicate, and the type of food you’re chopping with it can stain or ruin it if you leave it uncleaned.
Don’t leave it too long before cleaning once you’ve used it. If you don’t have the time to do the dishes and wash it properly, at least wipe it with a kitchen towel or a napkin. Once you do that, it can wait for a little while until you have the time to clean it.
Don’t Use The Knife For What You Shouldn’t
Be careful when you use the knife. You shouldn’t use it for things it isn’t meant for, such as meat or fish. This knife is intended for cutting veggies and fruit, and nothing else – except maybe herbs and mushrooms.
Also, you shouldn’t use this knife to cut frozen vegetables, as this can damage them. A nakiri knife has a thin blade that can get crooked or even break if you use it for hard things. You also shouldn’t attempt to open a bottle cap or something similar with it.
A nakiri knife has a double-beveled, straight edge. This means that despite its shape, you can sharpen the knife just like you would with any other knife. You can use either an electric sharpener or a drag-through sharpener. By keeping your utensils sharpened, you can get the best out of your nakiri knife.
Of course, if this is too much work for you, you can send it to a professional knife sharpener who’ll deal with this for you. It would be best to do this at least once a year, especially if you use your knife regularly.
Don’t Bend It
Avoid bending the knife’s blade. When you do so, you’re risking damaging the blade and ruining its shape. You might even cause micro-fractures in the blade, which can initially lead to breaking.
Store It Properly
Storing the nakiri knife properly is yet another great way to ensure you’ll have your knife with you for a very long time.
Of course, before storing it, first, you have to clean it, or at least wipe it with a dry towel.
Make sure you store the knife in a separate drawer or place them in a box. You may even use a magnetic knife holder. All of this will ensure your knife doesn’t get damaged by other utensils.
Still, the most important thing is that your nakiri knife always has to be entirely dry before you store it.
Of course, you cannot know how to get the best out of your nakiri knife without knowing how to make sure everyone, including you, is safe around it.
The first thing you need to do is to ensure your knife is perfectly sharp before using it. Believe it or not, a dull blade is more likely to cause accidents, because you’ll be struggling to use it.
While chopping, make sure you use a good chopping board. It has to be placed on a flat surface while you’re using the knife. Otherwise, it might slip and you might poke yourself.
A good nakiri knife has to have such a handle that will enable you to have a firm and comfortable grip. This also means that you have to take good care of the handle.
To ensure a proper hold, use a method called ‘a pinch grip’. Use your thumb to place the knife in the right position, and the index finger should be on the upper side of the blade. The other three fingers should stay on the handle.
All kitchen enthusiasts have to have their set of Japanese kitchen knives. A nakiri knife is a good knife to start your collection, as it’s a perfect tool for chopping veggies.
While there are many versions of this utensil piece on the market, you have to know how to get the best out of your nakiri knife to see all the things this knife can do. Also, you have to pick the right knife that will match your needs and capabilities.
If you’re willing to start trying these Japanese knives, feel free to check out any of the products we’ve listed, and let us know what you think of them once you’ve tried them!