The Deba Knife – Types, Uses and Maintenance

The Japanese Deba knife is one of the 3 basic models used in Japanese cuisine together with the Yanagiba, and the Usuba or Nakiri. In this post, we will learn more about Deba knives and their types, uses and maintenance.

The Deba knife is a pointed-blade Japanese kitchen knife used mainly for cutting fish, and also for cutting meat and poultry. It is Ideal for heavy tasks but Deba knives should not be used to cut thick bones.

Deba uses

It is an ideal tool to work with whole pieces of fish or birds since its design allows for making deep and precise cuts, controlling the pressure we exert on the blade.

The Deba knives fulfill their function for strong cuts by having a wider and sturdier spine, where the auxiliary hand can apply a little more force. The edge of the blade of a Deba knife is prepared to cut thorns and bones of fish or small birds.

The special shape of the blade of a Deba knife allows you to use each part for a specific purpose:

  • Cutting small bones with the heel, the part near the handle
  • Slicing with the center of the edge
  • Boning with the tip of the knife

The blade of the Deba knife is wide at the heel and pointed at the tip, and it is especially important for a Deba knife to be heavy, with a good blade and well balanced with the handle, both in weight and length.

Similarly to the Santoku knife, the width of the blade and the alignment with the handle of the Deba knife makes it very comfortable to hold and use, giving freedom to the fingers, avoiding contact with the board when cutting.

Deba knives: Types

In Europe, you can get Deba knives with blades of 10, 15 and 21 cm, recommended for domestic use, especially the 21 cm. Japanese professional cooks use 24 cm blades, or larger sizes. You can find a wide range of Deba knives in our website. Use NAIFUBLOG and get a 10% discount.

In Japan there are several types of Deba knives, very specific, such as:

  • The hon-deba, the model that arrives in the Western countries.
  • The mioroshi-deba, with a thinner blade specific for filleting.
  • The ai-deba,an intermediate model designed especially for medium-sized fish.
  • The smaller ko-debafor smaller pieces.

Deba knives: Maintenance and care

After use, it is important to wash them with soap and water and dry them well. We recommend washing the knife by hand after use. The knives should be stored in a detachable or open wooden block (to prevent dust accumulation), in a magnetic bar or in a case, protected from elements that can damage the blade.

We also recommend to sharpen the knife using a whetstone when necessary to keep your tool in perfect condition.

Featured Deba knives in our shop:

Tamahagane San Kyoto Deba knife, ref: SNK-1117

Tamahagane San Kyoto Deba knife, ref: SNK-1117

KAI SHUN Pro SHO VG-0002 Deba knife

KAI Shun Pro SHO Deba knife, ref: VG-0002

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