Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Proper user technique and care is essential to enjoying these high performance knives to their fullest while keeping edge damage to a minimum. Learn how here.
Post Reply
Cahudson42
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:16 am

Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by Cahudson42 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:41 am

Simple question, as I've seen videos both ways:

You are right handed with a correct right hand single bevel Yanagiba.

Do you slice (pull slice, correct?) from the left edge of the fish such that the thin offcut comes off against the flat side of the knife?


Or do you start on the right edge and work toward the left such that the offcut slice is always coming off against the bevel- edge side of the knife?

User avatar
mauichef
Posts: 2259
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:10 pm
Location: Maui, Hawaii
Contact:

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by mauichef » Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:07 pm

Great question.
I most often see chefs cut sashimi from the right side and nigiri from the left.
I usually cut from the left so as to be able to hold the slice with my left hand, especially when I am looking for a very thin piece.
So if you are making hira-zukuri, or rectangular slice, you would take it from the right.
If you are doing usu-zukuri, or thin slice, you would do so from the left.
I am a home chef so I would love love to hear from some pros.

Cahudson42
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:16 am

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by Cahudson42 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:55 am

Thanks! Great info...

After looking at them for months, did pull the trigger on Mark's last in stock 300mm Sakai..😊

Looking fotward to trying both your techniques when it arrives... Nigiri first.. so easy to do when I get the rice right..

Chris

Willison_Knives
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:20 pm
Location: St.Catharines On, CANADA
Contact:

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by Willison_Knives » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:16 am

Haven't had real experience with sushi, but as Mauichef said, it depends on the desired cut. Thinner cuts or to the left, i find that using the bevel helps keep the slice even, where as cutting to the right tends to ( an untrained with chisel ground) curve when slicing. I think(correct me please if im wrong!) even european cuts are to the left when thinness is desired.
Dakota J. Willison
Willison Knives

Puduu
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:33 pm

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by Puduu » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:25 pm

Ya, I have to admit that I'm still confused on this.

ochazuke
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:26 pm

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by ochazuke » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:50 pm

Sushi chef here! So a sashimi bocho is designed for draw cutting. I wouldn't recommend cutting sashimi with push or rocking... To answer the positioning question: as mauichef was getting at, it does depend on what you're doing. Here's a VERY rough rule of thumb: if you're cutting straight down then most of the time the fish starts on the left and gets pushed to the right after the cut -- this is so as to not go against the ura in case you scrape the cutting board. If you're doing a diagonal cut then the fish will usually start on the right and and be removed from the left side of the knife. This is to facilitate a very important "tate" or straightening of the knife as you finish the cut (i.e. 95% of the cut is at an angle but the last 5% is perpendicular to the board). This video has the basic techniques. While the chef's cuts may not be the most beautiful, they show all the basic aspects for how to cut sashimi:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X0afRMoIWM

salemj
Posts: 2696
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:27 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by salemj » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:27 pm

Great question, and already some interesting answers! I have also noticed that I have seen "professionals" (meaning people working in nicer sushi shops with high standards) use both sides of the blade.

I also have been impressed with a video or two that described the importance of single-bevel knives for thin vegetable work; usually these techniques also use the chisel grind not as a means for "separation," but instead as a means to control a thin slice using an angle cut, with the food releasing off of the "backside" (the flat side) of the blade. Shaving daikon is a great example of this. Point being that, although the "ura" is on the right side of the blade, the chisel grind also aids in a precisely controlled thickness when using the "grind" itself to control the thickness by resting it against the food while cutting.

I'm not knowledgable on this, but I thought that minor observation might help make some sense of this since it seems "counterintuitive" to some of us Westerners who learn that single-bevel knives are designed for right handers (and, therefore, should be used on the right side of the ingredient when cutting). My sense is - as Ray pointed out right at the start - that this is NOT actually the case at all, and anyone who has used a chisel knows how these things play out in practice: most chisels are used bevel side up AND/OR bevel side down, depending on the type of work you are doing, and I guess it is the same for single-bevel knives.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

Bluenoser87
Posts: 252
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:33 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by Bluenoser87 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:12 am

This is an interesting discussion. As a lefthander, it seems I could use a right handed blade and just switch the side I start from. It can’t be as simple as that is it? I’ve often looked at trying a yanagiba but am usually put off by the limited availability or price of left handed blades.

RickR
Posts: 744
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:03 pm
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by RickR » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:45 am

Bluenoser87 wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:12 am
This is an interesting discussion. As a lefthander, it seems I could use a right handed blade and just switch the side I start from. It can’t be as simple as that is it? I’ve often looked at trying a yanagiba but am usually put off by the limited availability or price of left handed blades.
No, sorry, but it's not as simple as that. The bevel side of the blade should be against the fish when you make a thin cut. Switching the side that you work on will merely put the ura side against the fish.

Bluenoser87
Posts: 252
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:33 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by Bluenoser87 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:05 pm

Wouldn’t the bevel side be against the fish with a right handed blade with the uncut fish to the right? Using the knife with my left hand just seems like it would work in that scenario. Not trying to start an argument or anything. I’m just curious and trying to talk myself into a yanagiba. For a general purpose knife I can see how left vs right could cause a lot of steering and weirdness. For slicing fish or carving it just seems like it could work using a right hand blade. Maybe I’ll pretend with my suji to see how awkward it is...

salemj
Posts: 2696
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:27 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by salemj » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:49 pm

Bluenoser87 wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:05 pm
Wouldn’t the bevel side be against the fish with a right handed blade with the uncut fish to the right? Using the knife with my left hand just seems like it would work in that scenario. Not trying to start an argument or anything. I’m just curious and trying to talk myself into a yanagiba. For a general purpose knife I can see how left vs right could cause a lot of steering and weirdness. For slicing fish or carving it just seems like it could work using a right hand blade. Maybe I’ll pretend with my suji to see how awkward it is...
As has been said, this is a matter of "technique" in Japanese cutting. I recently watched an Iron Chef where this specific issue was discussed: a left-handed chef was allowed to use the left hand for all standard gyuto work, but had to learn to cut with the right hand to do fish cuts with traditional knives by the head chef: even the direction of the fish fillet on the board was not supposed to be reversed. However, if you WERE to use a left-handed knife, you would also be expected to change the direction of the fillet, as part of the size of the cut and the corresponding technique has to do with the direction of the flesh and its grain.

I am not trained in this at all; but this is my understanding of the basic aspects of this type of technique.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

Leopang
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:11 am

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by Leopang » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:42 am

20years sushi chef.
It is tradition to slice of the belly side
And you can use it for nigiri
So you want to slice the belly side
Leaving the loin width of 4 fingers.
And when doing the sashimi from the right
You want to make a X with the loin.

User avatar
mauichef
Posts: 2259
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:10 pm
Location: Maui, Hawaii
Contact:

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by mauichef » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:05 pm

Leopang wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:42 am
20years sushi chef.
It is tradition to slice of the belly side
And you can use it for nigiri
So you want to slice the belly side
Leaving the loin width of 4 fingers.
And when doing the sashimi from the right
You want to make a X with the loin.
Not sure what you mean by slice from the belly side? How do you do that when the fish is cut horizontal to the belly?

salemj
Posts: 2696
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:27 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by salemj » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:23 pm

mauichef wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:05 pm
Leopang wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:42 am
20years sushi chef.
It is tradition to slice of the belly side
And you can use it for nigiri
So you want to slice the belly side
Leaving the loin width of 4 fingers.
And when doing the sashimi from the right
You want to make a X with the loin.
Not sure what you mean by slice from the belly side? How do you do that when the fish is cut horizontal to the belly?
Don't want to answer for someone else, but perhaps the idea is that the belly edge is closest to you and facing you, rather than the skin-side being up and "top" of the fish being closest to you. Haha.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

User avatar
mauichef
Posts: 2259
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:10 pm
Location: Maui, Hawaii
Contact:

Re: Slicing Sashimi with Yanagiba - which direction?

Post by mauichef » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:45 pm

salemj wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:23 pm
mauichef wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:05 pm
Leopang wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:42 am
20years sushi chef.
It is tradition to slice of the belly side
And you can use it for nigiri
So you want to slice the belly side
Leaving the loin width of 4 fingers.
And when doing the sashimi from the right
You want to make a X with the loin.
Not sure what you mean by slice from the belly side? How do you do that when the fish is cut horizontal to the belly?
Don't want to answer for someone else, but perhaps the idea is that the belly edge is closest to you and facing you, rather than the skin-side being up and "top" of the fish being closest to you. Haha.
Yeh...still unsure what he means by this especially when it is blocked. How would you know where the belly was? I've never seen a sushi chef orientate the fish once it is portioned.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests