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Japanese Kitchen Essentials

Japanese Kitchen Essentials

For those who are fans of the sushi and the wagashi, it could be intriguing to know how and using what kind of tools do chefs produce such delicacies. A Japanese kitchen is equipped with very traditional and basic tools. Here is a reference guide for, those who wish to know about the Japanese kitchen essentials.

Some must have Japanese kitchen tools are as follows:

  1. Knives

A set of knives is important to carry out various tasks in a Japanese kitchen. This includes the deba bocho knife that is a Japanese style carving knife used for carving chicken and meat and to behead and fillet fish. Another general purpose knife used in a Japanese kitchen is the Santoku. It is used for slicing, dicing, and mincing and has typically a blade of length 5 to 8 inches.A Japanese knife set includes other knives called the Nakiri bocho, the Usaba bocho, Tako hiki, Yanagi ba, Fugu hiki, Oroshi hocho, Hancho hocho, Unagisaki hocho, Udon kiri, and the Soba kiri. The Nakiri bocho and Usaba bocho are vegetable knives used for cutting greens since these have a very thin blade. The Oroshi hocho and Hancho hocho are very long knives used to fillet Tuna and other large fish. These can have a blade length of about 16 to 60 inches. Tako hiki, Yanagi ba and Fugu hiki are all used to prepare sashimi or sliced raw fish. A specialized knife for filleting eel is the Unagisaki hocho. Specialized knives are used to make Udon and soba noodles. These are called the Udon and Soba knives.

  1.  Hangiri

This is a specialized rice barrel also known as the handai. It is flat bottomed, round and used in the final steps of preparing rice for sushi. The Hangiri and the Shamoji wooden paddle are used to toss rice mixed with a dressing of vinegar, sugar, and salt. 

Japanese kitchen essentials

  1. Makiyakinabe

This is a square or rectangular cooking pan used to prepare the Japanese style rolled omelets. It is usually made up of Aluminum or cast iron and has a width of about 10 to 35 cm.

  1. Usu and Kine

Usu is a large mortar with a pestle called the Kine and is typically used to pond rice and millet. It is made up of wood or stone and is usually of 1 meter height.

  1. Tetsubin

These are cast iron pots having a spout and handle and are used for boiling water and tea. These are usually adorned with designs and elaborate shapes and hence a favorite among the collectors. These are fitted with a tea strainer inside which makes the process easy and manageable.

  1. Saibashi

These are the chopsticks usually used for cooking; serving and eating purposes. These usually have a length of about 30 cm or more and are made of bamboo. For frying, one can use chopsticks made up of metal with a bamboo handle that acts as an insulator.

  1. Tsukemonoki

It is dish used for pickled things. Pickling is a fundamental way of preserving food and Japanese use a pickle press to serve this purpose. The pressure is created by using heavy stones which weigh one kilogram or more, called the Tsukemonoishi.


Japanese Kitchen Essentials


  1. Oroshigane

These are the graters used in a Japanese kitchen. Traditionally these are tin coated copper plates which have spikes gouged out of metal but no perforations. Nowadays these are available in other metals, ceramics and plastic as well.

  1. Zaru

A Zaru is a draining basket used for soaking liquid out of the food. It can also be used to present food. It is usually made of bamboo but its plastic and metal versions are also available.


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Japanese Kitchen Essentials