Correction: January 8, 2019, 8:54 a.m. So is a cai dao for everyone? Free shipping on many items ... Chinese Cleaver CCK KF1902 210mm Stainless Steel Cai dao Chopper / Slicer. And that puny handle I initially viewed as a shortcoming proved a strength. Watching his fellow cooks using a single Chinese-style cleaver known as a cai dao for every single task, he thought, “I’m gonna learn how to do that.”, In his experience, the best Chinese knives are mass-produced in Hong Kong and can replace every other knife in a cook’s roll. At the start of the obstacle course, many said the cai dao seemed cumbersome or unwieldy. To chop fresh herbs, bunch them tightly together into a bundle, then slice crosswise finely as you would cabbage. From what I know from my father and a few other sources, Chinese chef knives can be broken down into four categories. Sort of a clever/nakiri hybrid and a great knife. Asian knife expert Philip Wolfe taught us how to handle a cai dao, or Chinese vegetable cleaver. Granted, I can’t use it for all my knifework; I keep my Western chef’s knife on hand for butchery and detail work. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. For her “very tiny hands,” the thin, dimpled handle is ideal, she says, but the blade’s extra length is a boon when cutting long, elegant slices for cakes and desserts. newsletter. See our ethics policy. The broad blade of the cai dao made it "easier to smash and, as a result, mince. His recommendation is a high-carbon stainless steel specimen from the brand Xin Rongda. First would be Sang Dao, which are small slicers like the much lauded CCK and Shibazi knives listed above. When you smash the ginger, work with Krudo designed this knife with a slight radius to the scales, double-sided guard and longer than average handle length. The Chai Dao's curved blade makes slicing, dicing and mincing easy with a smooth rocking motion. While we don’t suggest going rock-bottom, you don’t need to spend too much more to get a great knife. Sure, practice makes perfect—there’s something to be said for Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of 10,000 hours to learn a skill—but what if it’s really the knife? ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN THIS MONTH’S, CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL FOR HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 3-PIECE KNIFE SET, Cutting through when—and when not—to use a Western chef’s knife. It is made from carbon steel with a tough kurouchi finish. Shopping intel and product picks for food lovers. In comparison to a cleaver the cai dao is unexpectedly light and easy to use. The model is a Korin exclusive with a hammered blade and, according to Alvarado, a “gorgeous piece of metal.” Though he finds it to be seriously versatile, he admits that slicing through hard vegetables and bones can cause the edge to deteriorate and require more frequent sharpening. It reduced nuts and whole spices to a coarse powder. 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Few kitchen tasks are more vexing than knife work. The Chinese cleaver. My idea is that, since I like the format of the knife so much, I will probably cook my daily non-chinese food with a cai dao as well, and for that maybe use the stainless one more, especially if I do not wish any metallic tang. Also called a cai dao, it differs from a Western meat cleaver by being smaller, with a thinner, more lightweight blade, which slices pork and chops … But about 20% into it or so I really started to enjoy it. As for safety, oddly enough, the blade was so large it actually made it easier to keep my fingers out of the danger zone. Several factors contributed. $42.99. We will use it for customer service and other communications from Milk Street. “I take this with me if I go anywhere,” says John. Many swear by some variation of a chef’s knife, the most universal, all-purpose knife one can buy (though even chef’s knives vary based on the country of manufacture, the brand, and other factors). Place the flat side of the cleaver’s blade over the coin; the handle of the knife should be off the cutting board so the blade sits perfectly flat. And the cooks were most won over by the smash-and-mince technique for garlic and ginger (see sidebar below). Though it doesn’t shine in any one particular area, Clark says, “my knife really doesn’t have an Achilles heel.”, Ask John Hutt, chef at the Museum of Food and Drink, how much a line cook should spend on a knife, and he’ll tell you straight up: $25. There are Chinese knives that do the same job as a Western cleavers, sometimes advertised as "bone choppers" etc. I have not cooked a lot with them yet, so I will have to come back to that later. With a balled fist, smash the blade against the board. The ginger should be pulverized. “One of the hardest things about learning to use (these knives) is not being afraid to leave the cutting board,” Wolfe says. 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