Japanese Cuisine – The Essentials You Need to Know
Japanese cuisine is renowned for its delicate, subtle tastes that come along with the beauty seen in vivid colored sashimi pieces. The blends of bright orange Salmon fillet, cooked Nori strips, and sesame sprinkles contribute to all the newness, the uniqueness Japanese cuisine has to offer. Sashimi and Nigiri dishes are special and significant to all Japanese food lovers; with this, diners know the great importance of the selection of fine quality ingredients and specifically – the use of the ‘blade’.
Professional Japanese chefs, specifically the first-generation chefs, would highly put the mastery of knife skills on top of everything else on the list of things they should frequently have their hands on. As a chef needs an efficient knife, a perfect working buddy to craft his ideas onto the cutting board and the plates waiting to be filled, the mastery of essential Japanese knife skills is highly important to all hopefuls with strong passion and a desire to get them immersed in the world of Japanese cuisine. Although perseverance, dedication, and motivation are required to learn the Japanese knife essentials, it is also important to know the basics and go through a few techniques to master the expertise – the swift motions of chops and slices to become a true Japanese food guru.
The Preparation of the Heart and Mind
As earlier mentioned, dedication, motivation, and perseverance are three essential traits to acquire in order to become a good Japanese food cook or a chef. To learn how to cook delicious Japanese food, the following thoughts and characteristics are required: hunger to always learn new techniques, the discipline to grasp the concepts and apply the practices, as well as the respect for masters of Japanese cuisine – the first-generation chefs, including the Japanese traditions.
One has to be equipped with a positive mind filled with the desire to ‘craft’ and not just ‘cook’. It is essential to first have an optimistic mindset ready to grasp the skills and the techniques to cook Japanese cuisine, specifically for sushi dishes. Be happy to learn all the basics and go through what you think might not be as ‘important’, but mind you, the slightest changes in details or errors may even alter the tastes. As Japanese dishes are known for its subtleness and unique flavors from the combination of ingredients, an eye for detail is a must.
Getting to Know Japanese Knives
Japanese knives differ in material and size. However, most quality Japanese knives are professionally forged from thin, yet extremely hard steel – as they need durability required to perform the techniques. Tougher steel could also mean another thing when it comes to Japanese knives: different angles. Japanese knives can be sharpened to different, fine angles to enable users to create cuts that are much more refined and precise. Vital in the crafting of delicate Japanese cuisine, most blades are single-bevel ones that are crucial for the making of clear-cut slices of raw ingredients, mainly fish.
The Main Techniques
To make the authentic Japanese sashimi dishes, the following are the major knife techniques used: Sengiri, Katsuramuki, Hira-Zukuri, Kaku-Zukuri, and Usu-Zukuri. These techniques are the sushi crafting basics and essentials which will require up to years and years of mastery. As for the Katsuramuki technique often used to cut and chop veggies like celery or cucumber, people often think it is an easy technique to practice. However, it is among the most challenging ones to master. Sengiri is a skill used to make sashimi garnish, Hira-Zukuri is a technique to create rectangular-shaped slices, Kaku-Zukuri to make squared or cubed cuts, and Usu-Zukuri to create thin slices of ingredients.
Acquiring the techniques and skills required to create Japanese dishes is essential to all Japanese chef hopefuls and even those who just love to devour Japanese food in general. If you’re a homebody who needs sushi every now and then, learning the basics of holding a knife and cutting the slices of Salmon would definitely help reduce the costs of reserving a table and also makes you a charming cook!