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Over the years, the Santoku knife has risen in popularity to become one of the most popular knives in the world. This style of knife has become a staple in household and professional kitchens alike and in this article, we’ll be looking at the history behind the Santoku knife, how to spot them, and what the best uses are for this most versatile piece of cooking equipment.

The History Of The Santoku Knife

As may seem obvious, the Santoku knife originated from Japan, where traditionally, they will use a Gytuo knife for cutting meat, a Deba knife for fish, and a Nakiri knife for vegetables. The word ‘Santoku’ means ‘three virtues’, which refers to these three elements coming together and fulfilling all the purposes -  cutting, slicing, and chopping - of these separate knives.

Katto's signature Henry (Walnut) santoku knife

How To Spot a Santoku Knife?

There are several key identifiers which will tell you that you’re buying a santoku knife. Firstly, the general design of the knife. When looking for your Santoku knife, it’s easily most distinguishable by the blade itself. Typically, it has a wide sheepsfoot blade, which will have a flat edge and no tip. Picking up the knife will also determine whether or not it's a Santoku, as it will feel lighter, and thinner to the touch. 

As well as the overall design of the knife, there is also the size that can make this make recognisable. With its wider blade and flat edge, this knife has a distinct and noticeably different shape from others. In addition, they are typically smaller than the Western general-purpose knife, which offers more versatility in the kitchen. You might think that this smaller size would make the santoku knife less powerful; but in reality this is not the case. With its sharper tip, slightly curved edge, and longer blade, it makes for a dynamic piece of kitchenware. 

Finally, look out for the bevel of the knife which refers to the way in which the blade has been ground to form the cutting edge.Santoku knives can be manufactured with either a single or double bevelled edge. At Katto, we opt for a double bevel because it enables both left and right handed chefs to use the knife. And it also means that the blade can be sharpened on both sides. 

Katto's Henry (Walnut) 7.5" santoku

What Are The Best Uses For a Santoku Knife?

As the Santoku knife becomes more commonplace in the chef’s kitchen, so do the number of uses it has. Below are some of our top recommended ways to use a Santoku knife, which will really show you what these kitchen aids can do. 

For example:

  • Cutting or chopping meat products

  • Slicing or preparing cheese

  • Mincing and dicing any type of herb

  • Mincing, slicing, or chopping fruits and vegetables

  • Producing fine, or thinner slices of seafood

On top of being a complete master of chopping and preparing the food items above, the Santoku knife's wider blade allows for it to be much easier at scooping diced ingredients off a chopping board and using it for other preparation tasks surrounding food. 

In order to get the most out of your Santoku knife, it’s vital that you keep it sharp and kitchen-ready. Here at Katto, we offer free sharpening on any purchase of one of our knives. To take advantage of this, simply fill in the form online and we will take care of the rest.