The Japanese Deba Knife is one of the 3 fundamental knife models used in Native Japanese cuisine. The knife comes together with the Usuba/Nakiri and the Yanagiba knives. Traditionally, the Japanese use the Deba knife for preparing fish which is one of the key ingredients for their traditional meals during the Edo period.
The knife has a distinct incisor tooth-like shape that sets it apart from most other knife types. With the tip, you could cut off the heads of fish using its high heel. The multipurpose knife can also be used to fillet the meat off from its middle bones especially using the pointy tip.
Like all chef knives, the Japanese Deba knife comes in various shapes and sizes. However, they stand out from the conventional western knives with their blade styles. More so, all Deba knives have particular purposes that they can be used for. For instance, the Aji Deba knife is traditionally used for Ajikiri fish in Japan while the KanisakiDeba Knife is for crabs and lobsters.
As you read on, you will find out more about this amazing knife. More importantly, you will find answers to the question “What are Deba Knives Used for?” Keep reading to find out more.
What is the Deba Knife?
Deba in Japanese is a phrase that means “Pointed Carving Knife”. Like you already know, the Deba knife is not a Western-style carving knife. Therefore, it does not look like the regular carving or slicing knives that you are used to. So, when you look for the Deba knife, expect to see something a little bit thicker than the western style carving knives. Usually, they also come with a pointed tip that is quite sharp. Going down, you will also notice the belly of the is a bit wider than usual.
What are the Types of Deba Knife that we have?
Deba knives, by design, are work houses, therefore they come in various shapes, qualities and sizes. Some are made from soft Yasugi steel like yellow steel and some others are made from high-quality white steel like Shirogami steel. There are also Deba knives that are made from molybdenum stainless steel which reduces rusting.
Generally speaking, the type of Deba knife available to you will depend on the environment that you find yourself in. In Europe, you might get different blade sizes. Some Deba knives in Europe have blades that measure 10 cm, some others measure 15cm while some can be as long as 21cm.
If you are looking for something suitable for your domestic needs any of the above lengths in Europe should do. However, most salespersons will tell you to go for the 21cm type. That is because it offers the best handling amongst all three types of Deba blades found in Europe.
If you are a chef, you might want to consider going for the professional Deba Knife used by Japanese chefs. It has a longer blade and it comes highly recommended by most chefs in Japan. Unlike the other European types, the traditional Deba knife has a blade that measures 24 cm in length.
Traditionally in Japan, there are four types of the Deba Knife. Japanese manufacturers and salesmen have used the special classification style for many years to describe the four types of traditional Japanese knives that we have.
The names of the knives are from the Japanese language and they have their colloquial meaning in Japanese. That said, here are the four types of Deba knives that we have in Japan.
Hon Deba Knife
This Deba knife has a design that makes it look like western style knives. Most people buy them from Japanese manufacturers because they appreciate their design.
Miyoshi Deba Knife
The MiorishiDeba Knife has a thinner blade compared to the other Deba knife types. Thanks to its thin blades, the knife is best for filleting. That is, removing bones from fish and meat.
The Ai Deba Knife comes with a medium-sized blade. It comes as an intermediate-sized model of all the Deba knife types. If you are looking to cut and slice a medium-sized fish, consider using this knife.
Ko Deba Knife
This is by far the smallest of all the Deba knives. You can use the small blades of this knife for filleting, removing scales from small fishes/any other sea creature, slicing and so on.
What are Deba Knives Used for?
Traditionally, Deba Knives are commonly used for cutting fish. They assist you to carry out simple cutting tasks like filleting, beheading, slicing, and cutting fish and their bones. As you will agree, fish can be sticky and therefore, you need extra care when handling them. To get the right angle and to protect yourself, you need the right tool, which is a knife with sharp edges.
With a knife like the Deba Knife, you have all you need to cut all the parts of your fish efficiently even the toughest parts. Looking closely at the knife, you will see that it comes with a special structure and design with which it can perform all its detailed cutting functions.
The following is a detailed explanation of how the elements of the knife work to help you achieve the right cuts.
- The heel of the blade is designed to handle the difficult portions. That is the bones and the hard parts of meat and fish. So, if you want to cut the head or tail of your fish, consider using the heel portion. The heel portion will chop off the head and tail without causing any damage to the other portions of the fish.
- Fishes can come with different spines and identifying these spines is the crucial part of filleting fish and bones. The tip of the knife is what you use for this purpose. Before you start the cutting process, ensure you use the knife’s tip to check if there are spikes or no spikes in the region you are about to cut.
- Finally, the wider portion of the blade is the multipurpose part. Feel free to use it to slice, fillet, and peel the skin of your fish. You can also use the wider part of the blade to remove fish scales.
How to Maintain and Care for Deba Knives
To conclude this article, we will briefly consider how you can take good care of your Deba knives so they can last long. To ensure your Deba knife remains of top-notch quality, consider doing the following:
- Always remember to wash your knives with soap and water after use. We recommend that you wash your knives by hand and not with a washing machine.
- Remember to dry the knives properly after washing them.
- Store your knives in a wooden block, case or magnetic bar after each use. Ensure that whatever storage you use protects the blade from the sun, dust and moisture.
Finally, ensure to sharpen your knives with a whetstone when needed to keep them in perfect condition.