The Deba Japanese knife with an asymmetrical bevel!

You have probably already heard about the Santoku knife, arguably the most famous Japanese cutlery item. Do you also know about the Deba, a kitchen knife with an asymmetrical bevel, which is very versatile and useful for preparing countless dishes? If you answered no, read on to learn all about this single-beveled yet powerful knife!

The Deba Japanese knife with an asymmetrical bevel!

Key features of the Deba kitchen knife with a single-beveled edge

It is easy to recognize the Deba kitchen knife due to its asymmetric blade and the following characteristics:

  • Its blade tapers towards the cutting edge
  • Its blade is sharpened on one side, meaning it only has one cutting edge (as opposed to double-edged knives)
  • When compared to other Japanese cutlery articles it seems massive. Unlike many other Japanese knives designed for preparing fish, it is thick, heavy and rigid.
  • The back of its blade is hollow ground (or concave ground)
  • The blade is chisel ground
  • Its standard length ranges from 16 to 17 cm. However some Deba kitchen knives range from 10 to 21 cm.

In spite of its size and shape, which can impress even the most seasoned cooks, the Deba Japanese knife’s asymmetrical blade is highly versatile.

The Deba: a very useful single-beveled kitchen knife

At first glance, one may deduce that the Deba Japanese kitchen knife can only be used for specific kitchen tasks. However this is not the case.

In fact, this Japanese cutlery item can be used for a very wide variety of tasks, even though this knife was designed to excel in the preparation of fish.

For example, it is the ideal tool for removing fish heads and tails with clean and precise cuts. The tip of its blade is designed to slide easily along fish bones, making it perfect for preparing meticulously cut fillets.

Why does the Deba kitchen knife’s asymmetrical bevel excel at preparing fish?

The vast majority of Japanese cutlery items are excellent for working with fish (sushi, sashimi, etc.) and the Deba kitchen knife can definitely be counted among them!

Unlike kitchen knives with symmetrical or double-edged bevels, the Deba Japanese knife’s blade only has one edge that cuts.

The unsharpened side of the blade creates an air pocket, allowing the blade to penetrate food with optimal force; this means only the cutting edge of the blade touches the food, allowing you to create clean cuts that do not alter the food’s structure or flavor.

It should be noted that the asymmetrical Deba knife can be used for recipes that are not fish based. It is also excellent for cooking meat and poultry based dishes.

The Origins of Japanese Cutlery

From samurai sword to culinary art

In ancient Japan, katana swords were created with asymmetric blades. These swords were part of the samurai’s equipment.

In Japan, cutting tools and knives have always been among the most revered cultural objects in many military fields as well as in civilian life.

In the Japanese culinary field, it is customary to say that a successful dish depends more on how you cut the ingredients then on how you prepare it. If an ingredient is well cut it will increase its flavor.

What makes a top-quality Japanese blade?

Japanese cooks believe that an efficient blade must not alter the food’s structure or modify its taste. In order to uphold these standards, the Japanese used their ingenuity to create kitchen knives with asymmetric blades.

Ceramic knives are another good example of knives that holds up to these two standards. They are also very hygienic knives.

Other classic Japanese knives with symmetrical blades, such as the Santoku (comparable to the European chef’s knife), Gyutoh (a chef’s knife used for cutting meat and vegetables), Shotoh (a paring knife) or Kodeba (boning knife), are also very popular knives boasting favourable attributes. However the Deba kitchen knife is the most popular of them all and is also the subject of a heated debate concerning the best way to use it.

Grip and use

If you are using a Deba knife for the first time, you should keep in mind that a little bit of practice is needed in order to use it properly. You will quickly realize that its blade has a tendency to deviate from its trajectory so you should use a wide cutting board to increase comfort while cutting.

Become a specialist at using Japanese cutlery!

It takes a bit of time to handle this Japanese knife properly. In order to put all of its potential to use, it must be held in such a way that the index finger and the thumb work as little as possible. This technique consists of pushing down and then pulling the blade without using the rock-chop method. The power in this gesture should be generated from the shoulder and not the wrist.

If you learn to use the Deba Japanese kitchen knife properly, you should be proud of yourself for knowing about Japanese cutlery skills! TB Groupe manufactures this superb Deba knife, which is part of our Équilibre Premium collection.

Voilà, now you know all about the Deba kitchen knife. Once you have learned how to use this knife, you can try out two other Japanese knives with single-edged blades: the Sashimi or Yanagiba, which is used to remove fish skins and the traditional Japanese vegetable knife called the Usuba Bōchō. Feel free to share your experiences using this knife on our Facebook page. Thanks and see you soon!