Although it’s already been established that a Japanese chef is nothing without a good knife, the techniques behind the tool are endless. While Western cooking often requires the chop, dice, and julienne, Japanese cutting techniques include special skills that are unique to different kinds of vegetables – the katsuramuki technique is one of them.
Katsuramuki refers to the cutting technique that creates long, thin sheets from cylindrical vegetables. This technique is most commonly used with daikon and cucumber, but the idea can be applied to other vegetables such as a carrot or eggplant. While this skill takes a lot of time to master, the end result is a sheet of vegetable that’s almost sheer. These sheets can be used as garnish when cut into strips.
Applying the same technique, a vegetable can be cut into thicker sheets to be rolled into different dishes. These thicker sheets are versatile options for sushi and other wraps. The key is to use a thin, flat knife, held firmly in one hand with the other hand guiding the vegetable using the underside of the thumb.