In today’s article we’d like to show you a step-by-step guide on the simplest way to fillet a fish using Japanese style knife – Deba. Learn what the best tools for the job are.

What will you need:

Filleting knife – A knife with a flexible blade allows you to move easily between the flesh and bones of the fish – and the sharper the knife the easier the job. Japanese created a special style knife called Deba, which is ideal for that kind of job.

Sakai Takayuki Tokojou Deba 180mm White Steel #2

Sakai Takayuki Tokojou Deba 180mm White Steel #2

Scissors – You’ll need sharp scissors to snip off the fins.

This is the most effective way to fillet round fish such as sae bass, mackerel, trout, sea bream, john dory, cod, pollock, coley, mullet, salmon and sardines. Ask your fishmonger to scale the fish for you.

Got the tools? Ok, let’s start:spacer-647px

Step 1

Put the scaled fish on a chopping board and, using scissors, trim off the fins by the head on each side, and any fins that run along the top and on the underside of the fish.

Step 2

step-2With the tip of the knife, pierce the stomach of the fish using the small hole by the tail as a guide. Run the knife from the tail to the head, cutting open the stomach. Clean out the contents of the stomach and rinse the fish in cold running water.

Step 3

Put the fish back onto the chopping board and make a long cut around the head and just below the gills on both sides. Then, remove the head.

Step 4

Tail towards you, run the knife down the spine to the tail in a gentle slicing – not sawing – action, working the blade between the spine and the flesh. Repeat until the fillet begins to come away – lift the fillet to see where you’re working.

Step 5

When you get to the rib bones, let the knife follow the shape of the fish and slice over the bones. Once you’ve removed the fillet, set it aside.

Step 6

Turn over the fish and repeat with the second fillet, this time starting at the tail and working towards the head. Be careful – the second fillet may be a little trickier to remove. Voilà, you’ve filleted the fish.

Here is the video guide in case you found the above guide difficult. Here, Chef Dai is showing how to fillet a mackerel fish:

Here, filleting Sea Bream

Enjoy the fish!

Exciting times are coming to Japana.
We’ve never wanted to be just a shop selling standard handcrafted Japanese knives. We never wanted to popularise mass produce either. And while the handmade Japanese knives we import and sell are unique on their own, we decided to go one step further. We decided to gather the best talent, centuries of tradition and newest technology to bring you something, you won’t find anywhere else: kitchen and knife accessories inspired with the sharpest cuts and Japanese tradition. We brought in house the most talented product designers and skilled blacksmiths to connect tradition with the creative mastermind.

While we can’t reveal everything now, know that we’re put our hearts, energy and a lot of sweat into creating completely unique, highest quality signature lines of products. You will be able to enjoy results of this very soon.

For now, watch this space closely and subscribe to our newsletter to be informed when the products are available.

Japana signature X - First models of our new knife and kitchen accessories

Japana signature X – First models of our new knife and kitchen accessories

Until then!

Before starting Japana and getting deeper knowledge in knives, myself and Anna almost never sharpened our knives before they were completely unusable (We know! It’s a deadly sin and a huge danger!). We didn’t really see the importance of it and we were just buying new knives out of magazines’ recommended sets. But then we we discovered, how different cooking experience can be when using sharp high quality knives and maintaining them properly.

Dealing with Japanese blacksmiths taught us few things. One of the most important lesson was to understand that they are really (I mean “REALLY”) proud of their work and will not let anyone treat their blade art as yet another utility product. In order to make a deal with them, we needed to promise that we will always educate our customers in treating their knives with respect and maintaining them at certain level. So we committed ourselves to doing it. Day by day.

Today, we’d like to share with you 10 knife care tips we learned from master blacksmiths that stuck in our mind the most. We hope you will find them useful.

1. Test your knife is with a piece of paper.

If you’re wondering whether you should sharpen your knives—which most of the blacksmiths suggest doing roughly four to five times a year—cutting through a piece of paper is the best way to find out if they really need to be. Of course these numbers will be different for frequent users and occasional foodies, but you should always react when the blade feels blunt.
Holding a knife with one hand and a piece of paper in the other, you can check if the knife wins with paper. Just as a razor that encounters hair splits it easily, a knife should cleanly cut whatever it encounters If your knife slides cleanly, straight through the piece of paper, you can continue using it as it is. If not, then it’s sharpening time.

How to test your knife with this method:

Hold a piece of paper by its edge with your non-dominant hand. With the hand you usually use to hold knives, set the blade of your knife at the top of the piece of paper and press it directly down. Here’s what the resulting cut indicates:

  • If the knife cleanly cuts through the paper and barely makes a sound, it’s perfectly honed and sharpened.
  • If it cuts the paper, but makes a slight tearing noise as it does, it could use a little honing.
  • If your knife won’t cut the paper at all by simply pressing down, cut the paper back and forth in a sawing motion. If this makes a cut, your knife is likely sharp but needs to be honed.
  • If the knife won’t cut the paper at all, it needs to be sharpened and honed.

2. Don’t worry, it’s almost impossible to do irreparable damage to your knife on a whetstone.

Even if you’ve never sharpened a knife and thought it’s a job for professionals, you can do it at home, without the risk of ruining your expensive knife. Don’t wait until your knife is in deplorable state and you can barely cut a tomato. With a few swift correct strokes on the sharpening stone (the blade angled 15-20º with balanced pressure applied in a steady arcing motion) even a total novice is able to have the knife back to working order. Remember, that the most damage you can do is running your knife too flat along the stone and scratching the side, which might bum you out but functionally, your knife will still be fine.

3. If you’ve never sharpened a knife before, start with a paring knife.

Most masters recommend starting with an 8- to 10-inch paring knife, which will be lighter and smaller and therefore easier to manage than a gyuto / chefs knife. Also, when you’re starting out, try to avoid using knives that have bolsters (the curved, metal part of the knife that joins the blade and handle) which can catch on the whetstone during hand-sharpening. The general rule is: the simpler (and smaller), the better.

4. Honing your knife is as important (if not more!) than sharpening.

Here is a little trick: just because a knife isn’t cutting cleanly doesn’t mean it isn’t sharp; it might just be out of alignment, or the sharp edge is rolled over. The best tool to test whether your knife is “rolled” – which happens when a knife goes over a hard surface, like a serving platter or a pan, bending the sharp edge slightly over to one side—is your thumb.

Slide your thumb along the side of the edge, and you’ll be able to feel the rolled edge, if there is one. To fix a rolled edge, use a honing steel from Japan or Germany.

5. When sharpening, apply more pressure than you think you need.

Don’t be worried that you will break or crack a steel when applying more pressure during sharpening process. A lack of adequate pressure is one of the most common mistakes our blacksmiths see people do when knife sharpening. To make sure you’re applying the correct amount of pressure (four to six pounds for a relatively in-shape knife, eight pounds for an extremely dull blade), press down on a kitchen scale until it reads the correct weight, then apply this same amount of pressure to your knife on the sharpening stone.

6. Whetstones are not one-type-fits-all.

Whetstones (waterstones) come in a number of gradients, or coarseness. Lower grits, around #400, have a more textured surface area and can be used to reshape knives and repair chips—they shave off the most material. Higher grits, like #1000 are best for polishing and basic sharpening—if you’re only going to buy one stone, this would be your best choice. The highest grade stones, around #8000 are used for smoothing and polishing your edge.

When sharpening knives, it’s best to use multiple whetstones (if you can afford buying them), and work up from higher (lower numbers) to lower coarseness (higher numbers), in the same way you might use rough sandpaper to smooth out wood, then slightly finer paper to polish it. Strops, or pieces of leather are also sometimes used (think old-fashioned barbers) to give a very fine polish to a blade’s edge.

7. The angle at which you sharpen your knife matters a lot.

Professional chefs maintaining their knives use specific degrees for sharpening for specific tasks. E.g. if you’re splitting chickens all the time, 20° per side will give you more strength. If you’re cutting cucumbers, go for 10° per side will make it really slick and efficient. But if you’re just starting out, the best would be to keep the angle between 10° to 15°. If you aren’t sure what this looks like, lay your knife on the sharpening stone and place a matchbook under the blade, then remove the matchbook and keep the angle; this is about 15°.

8. Even the lowest quality knives benefit from being sharpened and honed.

Remember that movie where a guy bought a Chinese knife in $1 store and sharpened it to a razor-state?

Yes, you can do it with almost any knife, even a low-quality one. You want that low-quality knife to be the highest quality it can be. It’s extremely important to care for you’re knives—no matter if you have a £500 knife or a £30 knife.

9. Good cutting technique is essential for knife maintenance.

Every blacksmith will fell in despair if he sees you running his blade across the board sideways. This can roll the edge and make it duller faster. When chopping on a cutting board, be careful not to use your knife to slide the thing you are chopping into a pile, or to use your knife to brush it off into a pan. You can use your hands to do that.

10. Use magnetic racks

Typically a 12″ (300mm) knife rack will hold 5 chef knives, the 18″ (450mm) rack will hold 7-8 and the 22″ 10-12 knives.

You can purchase this walnut magnetic knife rack in our shop.

This is the safest and cleanest way of storing your beloved knives. The secret of these blocks is the hidden magnets buried in the wood. The clever bit about using wood is that unlike metal magnetic racks it protects the blade from chipping or scratching, metal on metal is a no no.

Are you a chef or a blacksmith? Got any more advice? Share it in the comments!

Konnichiwa! Today we’ve prepared for you a compilation of our dear friends and clients using their very expensive, very sharp knives… just to cut tomato (of course Kill Bill style) 🙂

1. Kaminari Knives

2. Slawek Jedrzejczyk 

3. Gadzeciarz Szeroki

4. Japana friends 

5. Eduardo Castro

6. Brakoniecki

Filmed cutting tomato with your Japanese knife? Send us a link, we will publish it here 😉

Today we’ve gathered for you the best 15 tips from professional chefs for that’ll save you time, money, and a whole lot of trouble. Enjoy!

1. Know your meats

1meatswagyu

After more than five generations in the butcher business, we know that home cooks are baffled when they buy meat. Look for beef with ivory-colored marbling and a dark red hue. Don’t be seduced by the cherry-red steak with no marbling. This will be tasteless and tough. And always buy the best quality you can afford or find.

Stanley and Mark Lobel, coauthors of Lobel’s Meat Bible

The hardest part about making the world’s most insanely rich, ridiculously indulgent Wagyu steak at home? Paying for it.

What makes Wagyu so expensive and desired at our plates?

This gourmet meat features intense marbling, rich flavours, and health benefits that are magnitudes beyond other selections of beef. Wagyu beef is uniquely healthy. The ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat in this meat is higher than in other varieties, so it’s better for you while offering a better flavour. Wagyu beef offers high concentrations of essential fatty acids and has a higher percentage of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol when compared to other types of beef.

Originally Yasugi or Yasuki steel was made from the steel produced from sand iron at a plant in Yasugi city in Shimane perfecture. Tartara steel is also made there. The plant is now owned by Hitachi which produces a wide range of steels.
Yasuki steel can be yellow, white or blue. Because it is Japanese made, it is considered nihontetsu 日本鉄. You can bet the grades of Yasuki steel used by better makers. Yasugi white and blue are really high class and some used by Tasai which is listed as near to Aogami Blue Steel quality. The only exception is Yasugi yellow – this is a cheap steel of lower quality, hence great Japanese blacksmiths do not use it in production (you may find some in Pakistani or Chinese counterfeit versions of Japanese knives).

yasugi city steel produced
Yasugi is a native steel produced in Japan which makes a patriotic Japanese chefs more than happy to buy knives with Yasugi steel. We are lucky to offer few Yasugi steel knives of great Yoshihiro blacksmith.

This is Yoshihiro Yamawaki Kurouchi Nakiri 165mm Yasugi Steel (blue)one of our bestsellers.

Yoshihiro Yamawaki Kurouchi Nakiri 165mm Yasugi Steel

 

 

Whenever possible, our knives are rated for how hard they are with what is called the Rockwell rating or measurement (aka HRC) of the steel. You may wonder what this rating is and what number is a “good” number for hardness of the knife you want to buy.

Here is the tip:
When discussing how hard something is it can be difficult to be precise about it – unless you have a measurement. When someone say to you that something is as soft as butter for instance, you’d probably imagine that butter in a room temperature, but remember that softness depends on if it’s a hot day, if it’s fresh out the freezer etc. They all change something we think of as soft into something either gooey or impossible to spread on bread!
What we need is a measurement, a number, a scale to let us know how hard something is. Step in the Rockwell hardness scale and the one we are interested in for kitchen knives is the one call “HRC”.

HRC is clever in its simplicity. The short easy version is HRC measures how much of a dent/mark a diamond point can make in the metal with a measured amount of weight. The smaller the mark the harder the steel. If you want to get all geeky about it read more about the Rockwell Hardness Scale on wikipedia.

For solid kitchen knives (ie the ones we stock) you will likely see ratings from 60-66HRC. For a comparison, an axe would be about 50HRC, your super market special knives are 54-58HRC.

The higher the rating the harder the material so the thinner/finer the cutting edge can be. Which is why you see higher ratings on our knives as they are hammered to be sharper.

So you might be thinking “higher is better” and as a rule of thumb it is, but as ever there are trade offs. The harder the steel the more fragile it can be so high steel knives are more likely to chip if misused. This can be countered somewhat by the choice of steel; powder steels can have a very high HRC rating.

Because hardness varies based upon intended use, there is no one "good" or "best" hardness for all knives.

Because hardness varies based upon intended use, there is no one “good” or “best” hardness for all knives.

The other point worth noting is that the harder a steel is, the longer they can take to sharpen. On the good side, they stay sharper for longer (which is one of the whole points of getting a good knife for life, more time spent cooking rather than sharpening and maintaining it properly).

 If you are unsure what knife you need for your purpose, give us a shout. We are always happy to help! 🙂

We don’t live in a Japanese knife bubble! Today we’d like to show you some of the most incredible, beautiful and unique designs of knives sets from all over the world. Many of them are ceramic knife sets using the materials to extract superb contrasts of colours. These sets usually include steak knives to a great surprise of many food lovers 🙂
Happy looking!

Richardson Sheffield 5-Piece Block Knife Set, Love Color Indulge

Richardson Sheffield 5-Piece Block Knife Set, Love Color Indulge

Five Finger Fillet Black Kitchen Knife Holder Designer: Raffaele Iannello

Five Finger Fillet Black Kitchen Knife Holder Designer: Raffaele Iannello

Designer: Mathias Kaeding

Designer: Mathias Kaeding

Designer: Min Seong KimVia: Yanko Design

Designer: Min Seong KimVia: Yanko Design

VonShef: Multi Colored Knife Set

VonShef: Multi Colored Knife Set

Designer: Jolanda Fiers

Designer: Jolanda Fiers

Richardson Sheffield Block Knife Set, Love Color Indulge

Richardson Sheffield Block Knife Set, Love Color Indulge

Kai Pure Komachi 2 8-Piece Knife Set

Kai Pure Komachi 2 8-Piece Knife Set

Ceramic Onyx Knives Kitchen Cookware and Serveware

Ceramic Onyx Knives Kitchen Set

Pure Black Kochmesser gross

Pure Black Kochmesser gross

Cuisinart 7-Piece Nonstick Cutlery Knife Set

Cuisinart Nonstick Cutlery Knife Set

Source: West Elm

Source: West Elm

Designer: Neil Davidson

Designer: Neil Davidson

Henri Mazelier Cheese Knife set

Henri Mazelier Cheese Knife set

Skandium Cheese Knife Set

Skandium Cheese Knife Set

Audi Kitchen Knives

Audi Kitchen Knives

Designer: Andrea Ponti

Designer: Andrea Ponti

Designer: The Federal

Designer: The Federal

Source: Matrix Imports

Source: Matrix Imports

Designer: Taras Kravtchouk

Designer: Taras Kravtchouk

Designer: Robert Larsson

Designer: Robert Larsson

Joseph Joseph 10125 LockBlock

Joseph Joseph 10125 LockBlock

Designer: Eric Berthes

Designer: Eric Berthes

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown

Samurai Kitchen Knife Set

Samurai Kitchen Knife Set

Designer: Mikhail Belyaev

Designer: Mikhail Belyaev

Japanese knife set

Japanese knife set

Sporty, chic knife set with patterns!

Sporty, chic knife set with patterns

Chef Essential 6 Piece Knife Set With Matching Sheaths

Chef Essential Knife Set With Matching Sheaths

Deglon Oak Base Meeting Knives Set

Deglon Oak Base Meeting Knives Set

Chef Essential 6 Piece Knife Set With Matching Sheaths

Chef Essential Knife Set With Matching Sheaths

Designer: Johanna Gauderfest

Designer: Johanna Gauderfest

Designer: Jeff Pinard

Designer: Jeff Pinard

Keramikus Ceramic Knife Set

Keramikus Ceramic Knife Set

ZHEN Japanese Chef's Knife Set

ZHEN Japanese Chef’s Knife Set

Designer: Caroline Noordijk

Designer: Caroline Noordijk

“The Ex” Five Piece Knife Set

“The Ex” Five Piece Knife Set

These chroma knives from F.A. Porsche are made from pure 301 steel

F.A. Porsche knives are made from pure 301 steel

Designer: Mermelada Studio

Designer: Mermelada Studio

Magnum Knife Set

Magnum Knife Set