Today is Vegetable Day, or Yasai no Hi in Japanese. Like so many other promotional events, the date was chosen for phonetic reasons. In Japanese, 8/31 could potentially be read as 8 (ya), 3 (sa), 1 (i). Et voila!
I’m assuming you already know about all the delicious Japanese vegetables out there – tasty pumpkins, slimy mountain yams, bitter melon, etc etc. So let’s skip the introductions and go straight to the fun part. Break out your knives, it’s time to learn some cutting techniques.
Japanese cooking uses many of the same knife cuts as Western cuisine, but there are some that don’t cross over. Like my favorite, the rangiri (literally, “chaos cut”). This would be used for simmered dishes mainly, but I also use it for raw cucumbers.
Another cutting technique that’s not often seen outside Japan (at least that I know of) – the katsuramuki. I’ve read that practicing this cut – which involves turning a chunk of giant radish into one long, paper thin sheet – is something novice chefs do repeatedly to build their knife skills.
And if the careful finesse required for the katsuramuki is not your thing, you can always try this.
If you want to learn more Japanese cutting techniques, check out Ajinomoto’s YouTube channel.