The oriental cuisine is dominated by seafood, fish, herbs, and vegetables, so this country produces many highly specialized blades designed for certain types of work with these categories of products, as well as other types of food. At the same time, the names of Damascus knives often characterize the appearance or purpose of the tool.
Distinctive features of true Damascus knives are expressive and unique:
- minimum blade sharpening angle (up to 15 degrees);
- high blade hardness (up to 62 HRC);
- sharpening for right-handed or left-handed people on one side of the blade (modern models can have European double-sided sharpening);
- rounded or oval handle (comfortable in the hand);
- wooden removable handles on laminated Damascus steel models (last for decades, so the handle can be replaced when worn)
Let’s take a closer look at the true Damascus varieties of knives and study their characteristics in more detail
1. Bannou bocho
For cutting vegetables and root crops by amateur cooks. Medium size knife (16-20 cm).
is one of the main blades in Damascus culinary culture. Ideal for cutting and slicing fish, relevant for meat. The blade with one-sided sharpening has a width of up to 1.2 cm, a length of 12-30 cm. It provides for a cutting-chopping cutting technique when the cook’s hand moves in a vertical space. At the base, the blade is powerful and heavy (for rough work), the tip is thinner, more maneuverable, and sharpened at a smaller angle (for cutting and gutting fish).
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3. Usuba bocho (usuba-bocho)
the name of this Damascus kitchen knife can be translated – as “thin blade”, which corresponds to its appearance. This is a handy and functional vegetable knife with a 13-24 cm blade.
is a type of usuba bocho. The blade is more rectangular in shape.
5. Yanagiba (Yanagi-ba)
is a highly specialized model for making sushi and sashimi. In the native language of Damascus, the name is “willow leaf”. This is due to the appearance – the blade is thin and long (20-36 cm) with one-sided sharpening at a minimum angle. This fillet is used for the thin cutting of chilled fish and gastronomy.
belongs to the family of sashimi knives. Designed exclusively to work with the famous pufferfish, filleting. The blade is straight, 21-30 cm long.
7. Unagisaki (unagisaki)
a fillet knife for cutting eel. The chef’s point is pierced into the carcass at the base of the head, and then the fillet is removed along the entire length of the fish in one movement. Medium size – 18-24 cm.
is a small knife (13-22 cm) with a lightweight and a thin cutting edge for multi-purpose professional use.
is a blade for butchering poultry and small game. The blade is straight, wide at the base and the most narrowed tip in line with the butt. The product is especially in demand in restaurants specializing in chicken dishes. The blade is 15-18 cm in size, heavy and powerful, designed for shock movements.
a smaller copy of garasuki (13-16 cm), created specifically for deboning poultry.
multi-blade (18-30 cm), which is suitable for cutting fish, meat, bread, vegetables. Often performed in a European design with a double-sided sharpening of the blade.
12. Guiba (gyuuba)
a smaller variation of the guyo (15-18 cm).
13. Hancho bocho
is a very long and powerful knife used for the commercial cutting of large fish (for example, tuna). The blade is sharpened on one side, reaches 1 m.
14. Hankotsu (hankotsu)
a medium-sized knife (13-17 cm) for trimming and deboning meat with double-sided sharpening. Often has a European design.
15. Hiraki boucho
is an analogue of hankotsu.
is a specialized model for extracting the smallest bones from an eel carcass. To this end, the chef makes the smallest precise cuts with a knife. The blade with a length of 27-33 cm has a one-sided sharpening.
17. Kaisaki (kaisaki)
a shortened version of Yanagida for its intended purpose. For amateur use. Blade length is only about 11-13 cm.
18. Kaibou (kaibou)
a massive cutter knife for cutting large poultry and meat carcasses. Produced in European style for professional use. Length – 26-32 cm, width – up to 1.5 cm.
19. Kawamuki (kawamuki)
is another professional representative of usuba in miniature. Designed for cleaning and shredding, the butt is rounded at the tip. Length – 9-12 cm.
20. Hondeba (hondeba)
translated as “real deba”, a kind of deba-bocho for professional chefs. It has a wide base and a pointed tip. Blade thickness – up to 1.2 cm, length – 15-24 cm. Suitable for both butt and blade work.
In Damascus, the knife industry is not only a business, but a whole art, a craft that masters have mastered for centuries and have achieved an unattainably high level in this area. The presence of a large number of varieties of Damascus knives also emphasizes the scrupulous attitude of these people to the cooking process. Evaluate personally the unsurpassed cut quality and ease of use of Damascus knives, and these blades will forever take the most honorable place in your kitchen.
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