I don’t know about you guys, but until a couple of years ago, I hadn’t given a single thought to what kinda knives were present at my home. I did harbor a secret crush on celebrity chefs who displayed insanely good knife skills but that was about it.
So when I started my first food outlet, it didn’t even occur to me of getting some specialized knives for the kitchen. And I remember us trying to hire a chef-cum-cook guy to come work at the outlet. In the middle of the meeting, he very casually asks if he can see what all knives we had.
I will never forget the disappointed look on his face as I stood there holding all the random domestic knives in my hands. That day I realized for the first time, how important knives can be in a kitchen. We eventually ended up not working together.
But even then, I have always found the world of knives very confusing. There are so many jargon and a million different kinds of knives and to even answer the basic question of ‘which knife should I buy for my home kitchen’, you’d have to do a ton of research.
And that’s basically why I’m writing this post. It took me 6+ years to understand the ABC of knives and I just thought of sharing it with you guys.
I have made a list of 3 knives - the only 3 knives you need in a modern kitchen. These three knives would get you sorted for more than 95% of your work in there. Whether you are a serious home cook or have just started setting up your kitchen these three knives would save you a ton of effort in the kitchen and set you in the right direction of learning those ninja knife skills.
*Obviously, this list is not for the pro chefs. They probably already have these essential knives and some more.*
1. Chef’s Knife
I’m sure we’ve all heard of this term - Chef Knife. But what is it really? Are all long blade knives chef knives?
While the chef knives do typically have an 8-10 inches long blade, it's the kind of blade that really matters here. The Chef Knives are 2-3 inches wide towards the rear end to give you sturdiness and weight while cutting and the blade curves up to a pointed tip.
This curve of the blade is what is distinctive of a Chef’s Knife. In fact, it is almost the only reason it is used so much by Chef’s all around the world and hence the name.
You might have seen chefs rocking this knife back and forth on their chopping boards sort of like a seesaw motion. And if you have ever wondered how the chefs are able to do it so fast, well its half practice, and half the knife itself.
Though the size and method of cutting with this knife do take some time to get used to, once you master it, you will never go back to your old ways of cutting. And I personally feel this knife is the answer to almost all our chopping, dicing, slicing needs.
So, if you like me, secretly wish to possess the amazing knife skills, this is the knife that’s gonna get you there! It is also the first knife you should buy.
The only disadvantage of this knife is since its practically huge, you won’t be able to do precision tasks like removing apple seeds, etc. Also, anything involving holding the knife mid-air is a serious no-no.
Pro tip: Get a wooden chopping board to pair up with this knife. It would make the knife last longer.
2. Serrated Knife
A serrated knife is no stranger to all of us. In fact, I’m sure you already have a serrated domestic knife in your kitchen.
So I don’t think I need to tell you how efficient the serrations are in cutting thin-skinned fruits & veggies like tomatoes or peaches or mango.
But I would definitely recommend getting a bigger serrated knife like Bread Knife. Now, bread knives are wider than our normal domestic knives and that’s the great part about them.
The wider blade can make sure that you are cutting your veggies or even bread in straight lines as they maintain contact with the entire object being cut.
Pro tip: Don’t apply pressure to this knife while you’re cutting. Just make your way inside the vegetable in cutting saw motion. It would make sure you don’t squish the actual vegetable while slicing it.
3. Paring Knife
A paring knife has a small sharp blade - about 3-4 inches long. It is the kind of knife you already have in your kitchen but shaped like a chef knife. It is also a pretty light-weight knife that can be easily managed in various different angles of working.
That is why this knife is used for precision tasks like peeling fruit or deseeding something or if you want to cut the fruits/veggies in any specific shape. Also, small veggies like shallots or baby potato or cherry tomato would be very easy to cut with this knife.
As I said, there are no rules for how you should be working this knife - it’s totally up to you. But this is not the knife for speed. Rather it's the total opposite - to be used with precision and attention.
Pro tip: Keep this knife super sharpened at all times and it would be like the best kitchen tool you’ve ever had.
These are my go-to knives in my home kitchen on a day to day basis. There are obviously, various other kinds of knives available in the market. For instance, we also have a clever knife in our Dohful kitchen to cut through the dark chocolate bars. But it’s only needed for very heavy-duty purposes and therefore not really needed in a home kitchen.
Different knife brands you can consider buying
Victorinox & Wusthof - The international brands which pros buy. The one-time investment you will relish all your life.
Solima - An amazon basics brand, good to start with if you're buying for the first time and want to get a hang of various knives first.
Godrej Cartini - Entry-level knives available online as well as offline.
I hope I was able to give some clarity around knives to you guys. I would love to hear your comments about the same!
*All the images have been taken from the Victorinox website & are for illustrative purposes only*