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Knife Sense: Meet the Versatile Santoku Knife

Knife Sense: Meet the Versatile Santoku Knife

Name: Santoku Knife, some call me an Asian chef’s knife
Height: 5 to 8 inches
Weight: A polite knife never reveals its weight, but between you and me, I’m lighter than a chef’s knife.
Favorite hobby: Slicing, dicing, mincing and being generally helpful in the kitchen, there’s not much I’m not good at.
Who you hang with: When I’m out of my wood block, I spent a lot of time with fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Take a peek into a professional chef’s tool kit and you’ll discover knives in all sorts of shapes and sizes—even colors. But if a chef had to choose only one knife to get their job done, which would be their choice?

Many say the Santoku Here’s why.

  • The Japanese version of a chef’s knife, the Santoku is a great all-purpose knife that gets its name from its “three virtues” or three uses: Slicing, dicing and mincing.
  • In Japan, the Santoku is go-to knife, the way the chef’s knife is the most common knife in American kitchens.
  • Rapidly becoming an A-lister in the U.S. among home cooks, the Santoku is getting more and more popular with professional chefs, too. “It’s a great all-purpose, versatile knife that is very comfortable to use and easy to handle,” says Chef Andy Boyle from St. Paul, Minnesota’s Mexican hot spot, Barrio.
  • The Santoku stands out in a crowd thanks to its single most recognizable feature: its “scalloped” or “dimpled” blade indentations, called grantons .
  • The grantons aren’t for decoration. They serve a very useful function—they create small air pockets between the blade and the food. As a result, the Santoku produces clean cuts with very little sticking—and that helps you cut faster. This ability makes the Santoku a great knife for cutting all sorts of different foods, from firm carrots to delicate basil.
  • A useful general-purpose knife, the Santoku is a champ when it comes to chopping, cutting, dicing and mincing. “It’s great for a lot of different tasks, particularly dicing and mincing vegetables and herbs,” says Boyle. “No other knife is good for as many different things.”
  • Don’t go tossing out your chef’s knife or carving knife anytime soon. While the Santoku is very useful, “there are other knives for more specific tasks,” explains Boyle.
  • As with all knives, a Santoku should be hand washed and completely dried before storing.
  • A Santoku should stay sharp for a long time, as long as it’s stored in a knife block, with a protective blade cover or in a designated spot where it won’t bump into other knives.
  • Don’t forget, get your knives sharpened from time to time by a professional to keep them at their sharpest.