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Santoku knives originated in Japan and are general purpose kitchen knives. The word refers to the three cutting tasks which the knife performs well: slicing, dicing and mincing.
The rounded nose allows the knife to be rolled from the front for fine dicing of herbs etc. It has an extra wide blade so when doing fine slicing at speed you can rest your knuckle against the blade and keep your finger tips out of the way of the cutting action.
Approximate blade length: 17.5cm / 7in
Having OOS/RSI and a touch of arthritis, prolonged chopping or knife-weilding can cause me a lot of discomfort and even outright pain, especially with larger bladed knives. The bigger the blade, the shorter the time I can use it before I need to rest, adding extra time to the meal preparation.
Enter, stage left, the Lassar Santoku knife. Big enough to do the jobs I want - slicing potatoes, chopping carrots or onions, finely chopping herbs - yet so amazingly light that I can use this for up to three times longer than a regular metal bladed knife of comparable efficiency and functionality.
Now, having sliced myself on many a chipped cup or plate in my life, I know how sharp ceramics can be, but this was incredible. It went through tough avocado skin as though it wasn't there. Green tomatoes were like soft cheese to this blade. And without a word of a lie, while using a metal fork to hold some meat steady while I sliced it, I accidentally slide this blade along the fork, and the edge dug into the metal! It was only very slight, since I wasn't making any efforts to do damage, but it was enough that the ceramic blade stopped moving and I had to pull it backwards to release it.
Zirconia, as the blurb says, is the second toughest substance on earth, topped only by delightful Diamond. This shows you how strong this blade is... however, just like a diamond, if you give it a big enough tap along a natural plane of the crystalline matrix, it will crack, break, or even shatter. So, despite assurances that this knife is quite likely to bounce back unharmed from a drop , I simply wouldn't advise it, especially if you have hard floors. Wooden floors... still wouldn't advise it, but more for the sake of the floor, than the knife!
The biggest feature about this knife that impressed me was it's non-porous nature, meaning it has no microscopic pits for food to lodge in and breed bacteria. In fact, this is so resistant to food and biologicals, that I was quite able to go from chicken to beef to fish, with only a rinse under hot running water and a good wipe with a paper towel in between, with no cross-contamination. I was so sure this substance was impervious to contamination, I wrote on the blade with a permanent marker, and was able to wipe it off again using only a moist paper towel! Attempting the same trick on a metal blade resulted in failure, and I quite happily disposed of that.
When would I use this knife? Since I am not a "chef" I dare say I won't use it anywhere near as often as it warrants, however I do a lot of cooking and experimenting with food, so I can say that I sue this in place of my regular chopping blades almost exclusively. When would I NOT use this? Any time I am cutting meat off, or near a bone. Ceramic blades are prone to chip when encountering bone, even the toughest ones.
Overall, this would have to be one of the most amazing blades I have ever had the pleasure to work with. I look forward to more enjoyable occasions to use it, and would highly recommend any serious food preparer get one of these - you'll never look back.
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