Common House Kitchen Knives
Every home has that one, worn-out knife that is used for everything. Most people are ok with having just one knife to do all the cutting jobs in the kitchen. However, cooking is more fun when you use the right tool, and different knives are good for different tasks. In this article, we'll look at some of the most common house kitchen knives and what they're used for.
The Chef's Knife
If there's a knife you have to have in your kitchen, it's the chef's knife. It's an all-purpose knife that can perform a wide variety of tasks, from chopping and dicing vegetables to cracking crustaceans open.
Also known as a cook's knife, this knife features a long, wide blade and a straight edge. It is widest at the heel and tapers to a fine point at the tip. The curve of the blade lets the knife rock backward and forwards on the chopping board. The broad heel allows the knife to withstand the pressure of heavy-duty work like cutting hard foodstuffs such as potatoes and onions.
The F Dick Premier Worldchefs Chef Knife 21cm is a great example of a chef knife. Designed specifically for international chefs, it incorporates a hygienic non-stick coating on the blade, which prevents food from sticking when you're cutting.
The Santoku Knife
This is the Japanese version of the Western chef's knife. It has a long blade that slightly tapers toward the point. It is smaller and lighter than the western chef knife. It is also an all-purpose knife. In fact, Santoku means "three virtues", which are the three main tasks that knives perform in the kitchen, namely mincing, dicing, and slicing.
The Santoku has a flat blade, so it can't rock on a chopping board. This makes it unsuitable for mincing herbs, but it does well when making thin slices of herbs. Some Santoku knives like the Shun Kai Classic Scalloped Santoku Knife Left-Handed 17.8cm have little hollow indentations, or dimples, all along the edge. These help to reduce friction and sticking of food to the blade during the cutting process. Santoku knives are particularly useful when cutting fish, but they can handle pretty much everything else.
The Nakiri Knife
A chef's knife or Santoku can handle vegetables well, but if you're really serious about your cooking, you need a separate knife for vegetables.
Nakiri knives are also known as Japanese vegetable knives. The knife features a broad and rectangular blade. Think meat cleaver, but smaller and slimmer. This square shape and straight edge make the Nakiri perfect for cutting large, hard vegetables like the butternut squash. This is because the knife can cut right through the veggie to the chopping board without needing to rock backward and forwards.
Sometimes Nakiri knives like the Tojiro Hammered Nakiri Vegetable Knife 16.5cm also come with scalloped edges to reduce friction so the cutting can go faster.
The Utility Knife
A utility knife is similar to a chef's knife, only smaller and slimmer. It is mostly used to cut food that's too small for a chef's knife.
It has a small sharp tip that tapers toward the spine and a narrow blade. This makes it ideal for making really thin slices and fillets.
It's great to have in the kitchen, as you will often have food that is too small for your chef's knife to handle. A fine example of a utility knife is the ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Pro Utility Knife 16cm which is a vegetable knife, but it can also be used to cut small cuts of meat.
The Paring Knife
This is a small knife with a short, slim, pointed blade. It is light and therefore ideal for delicate work like removing seeds from fruits and vegetables, peeling, and trimming.
Paring knives may be small but they can also carry out other harder jobs like cutting potatoes and chopping up vegetables.
In fact, due to their versatility, paring knives like the Tojiro Hammered Paring Knife 9cm are probably one of the most used knives in a chef's kitchen. This knife features a handcrafted traditional blade made of Japanese Shirogami carbon steel, which is then hammered to produce a special texture.
The Carving Knife
This is one of the longest knives in the kitchen. It is long and narrow, which allows it to make clean and uniform slices. It is mainly used to cut and slice meats like beef, lamb, pork, and poultry.
Due to its narrow blade, it can also be used to cut large fruits, vegetables, and even cakes.
The Tojiro DP3 Series Carving Knife 24cm is a good example of a carving knife. Handcrafted in Japan from high-quality steel, it has a super-sharp blade with Rockwell hardness of 60.
The Meat Cleaver
The cleaver is also known as the butcher knife. It has a flat rectangular blade and comes in different sizes depending on the use. They are the broadest and heaviest knives in the kitchen.
Cleavers are used to cut up raw meat, cut through bones, and cut through thick foodstuff like pumpkins.
The wide, heavy blade also makes the cleaver great for beating and tenderizing poultry, meat, and fish. In addition, the knife features a thick spine, a wide blade, and a full tang, which give balance and strength. For cleavers to do their job well, they need a thicker, tougher blade.
For example, The Shun Kai Classic Meat Cleaver 18.7cm has a blade made from AUS8A, a strong, high-carbon, wear-resistant stainless steel. Due to their size, cleavers usually have a hole at the corner of the blade for hanging them up when we're not using them.
Now that you know the basics of house kitchen knives, you can update your collection to include all the right knives for the right jobs.
Having the right set of house kitchen knives is a great way to develop your skills as a cook. Even if you're not a professional chef, with the right set of knives, you can be a chef in your own kitchen. Check out the above-mentioned knives and choose one for your culinary needs.