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Japanese Kitchen Knives: Essential Techniques and Recipes Hardcover – July 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 158 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030762
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030764
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The authors...invite you to contemplate the knife as ravishing artifact—and instrument for producing edible ravishing artifacts." — The Los Angeles Times "Inspirational. Tokyo chef Hiromitsu Nozaki's Japanese Kitchen Knives exquisitely illustrates techniques like cutting a daikon radish paper-thin anyards long."Food & Wine
"...a love story to sharpened steel." he Denver Post
"Chef Nozaki describes in detail what each knife is used for, how to use it properly and then provides recipes as examples. The recipes are very easy for home cooks and use ingredients found in most supermarkets. And the photographs are incredible."
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

HIROMITSU NOZAKI was classically trained in several Japanese restaurants before becoming the executive chef of Tokuyama in 1980, and Waketokuyama, in Tokyo in 1989. Known for his culinary skills and deep knowledge of food, he catered for the Japanese athletes of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He has published over forty cookbooks, ranging from simple home cooking and baby food recipes to textbooks for apprentices, traditional Japanese recipes, and scientific new approaches to Japanese cuisine. Waketokuyama was awarded one star in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2008.

KATE KLIPPENSTEEN writes on food, film, and travel as well as comparative culture for Japanese and U.S. publications. She is the author of Cool Tools: Cooking Utensils from the Japanese Kitchen, published in 2006 by Kodansha International. Klippensteen has lived in Tokyo since 1986.

YASUO KONISHI has journeyed to more than one hundred countries over his career for a wide number of publications, including Esquire Japan. His work has appeared in a number of food-related books published in Japan, including Cool Tools.

Customer Reviews

The recipes in "Japanese Kitchen Knives" are up to the usual great standard one can expect from Kodansha.
Zack Davisson
A lot of this information, one would learn by being an apprentice but now, one can learn from one of the best Japanese chefs through his book.
Dennis A. Amith
This book has great step by step diagrams on how to fillet fish using the Debas and then Yanagiba knives that is really helpful.
A. Brain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For any culinary chef, the tools you have with you to prepare certain meals are quite important. For many chef's, the knives used are critical in preparing certain meals. In Japan, the Japanese kitchen knives are extremely critical as many dishes include paper-thin dishes.

It's one thing to watch this on television via "The Iron Chef" or watching your sushi chef prepare it at the restaurant. But for many people who enjoy cooking, many people who enjoy cooking know that knives are important and for the last decade or more, the sales of Japanese kitchen knives have been increasing but the question is, do a lot of people know how to utilize them?

With "Japanese Kitchen Knives: Essential Techniques", chef Hiromitsu Nozaki (with Kate Klippensteen) shows you how to create a variety of dishes but also learning how to get started, proper knife anatomy and knife control. Also, gaining knowledge of the three main knives being used.

Hiromitsu Nozaki was the executive chef of Tokuyama and Waketokuyama in Tokyo during the 80's and catered to the Japanese athletes for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He has published and authored over 40 cookbooks in Japan and together with Kate Klippensteen (who wrote "Cool Tools: Cooking Utensils from the Japanese Kitchen"), both do a great service for upcoming chefs, people who are passionate about Japanese food (especially on how vegetables, fish and meat are cut thinly) and those who have been wanting to invest in Japanese knives.

The book is broken down to three major chapters which are THE USUBA, THE DEBA and THE YANAGIBA.

The Usuba deals with learning how to use rotary peeling, needle cuts, whittling, tea-whisk cut, serpent belly cut and decorative vegetable carving.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Many of the fancy cuts and delicate arrangements in Japanese cooking require a certain set of tools. One can imitate them with Western cooking equipment, but never really perfect them. Central to these techniques are the three single-beveled Japanese knives; the yanagiba, the deba and the usuba.

"Japanese Kitchen Knives: Essential Techniques and Recipes" is an introductory book to these three essential knives and their use. Written by celebrated chef Nozaki Hiromutsu (who has many cooking books available in his native Japanese) and Kate Klippensteen (Cool Tools: Cooking Utensils from the Japanese Kitchen), the book is about one-third knife history and information, one-third knife skills course, and one-third cook book with recipes.

I enjoyed all of the different elements of "Japanese Kitchen Knives." I have read about some of the knife techniques, such as the sanmai oroshi three-piece filleting technique in that Japanese cooking bible Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, but it was much easier to follow here with the photographs and step-by-step guide. In fact all of the photographs, by Konishi Yasuo, are lovely to look at and contribute greatly to the quality of the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Yukari Sakamoto on October 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Hiromitsu Nozaki's Japanese-language cookbooks are rich with classic recipes and techniques. The renowned chef's first book in English does not disappoint. This handsome work clearly demonstrates why Japanese knives are revered around the world.

Nozaki actually starts off not with knives, but with the proper cutting posture and stance, and even at what angle to face the cutting board. We tried this at home and quickly realized what a revelation this small change made in the kitchen.

While there are many varieties of Japanese knives, Nozaki focuses on the three that most chefs work with daily: usuba (for cutting vegetables), deba (filleting fish), and yanagiba (sashimi). Photos and clear directions guide readers through each step of working with these tools. Classic cutting techniques include katsuramuki for paper-thin rolls of daikon; sasagaki for thin vegetable slivers; and sanmai oroshi for filleting fish. The tutorials on cutting sashimi are worth the price of the book alone, and simple, delicious recipes let you practice your newly acquired skills. Essential information on caring for and sharpening your knives round out this book, which is certain to become a reference you'll go back to many times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Thompson on May 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book for novices like myself. I bought this book at the same time I purchased my first set of Japanese kitchen knives (deba, usuba and yanagiba), and I found the material on the care and sharpening of the blades very useful. I was also fascinated by the sheer range of different types available. I found the materials on different cutting techniques to be useful, but the section on filleting fish was a bit hard to follow even with all the illustrations provided. A few have commented that this book is really just a primer but, being a bit of a beginner, I still feel I got my money's worth.
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