Japanese Kitchen Knives by Hiromitsu Nozaki, teaches knife cutting techniques like Ken Needle Cut: Cutting Daikon Needle Strips, Chasen-giri Tea-whisk Cut (for Eggplant), and Dividing Fish Heads; and includes recipes like Needle-cut Vegetable Salad with Sesame Dressing, Simmered Eggplant and Chicken Breast, and Braised Tai Sea Bream Head with Turnips.
The bamboo whisk used to whip powdered green tea and hot water into froth during the tea ceremony is called a chasen. Since eggplant cut in this style resembles a tea whisk, the cut became known as chasen-giri. Used almost exclusively on nasu Japanese eggplant, chasen-giri serves two purposes. Not only does it give the eggplant an attractive appearance, but it also serves to help the eggplant soak up the stock in which it is simmered.
Here the skin of the eggplant is scored at approximately 1/4 inch (6 mm) intervals. The skin may also be scored at closer intervals, which creates a beautiful effect when cooked.
1. Remove the leaves of the eggplant by scoring them shallowly at the base and pulling them off. The stem should be left intact.
2, 3, 4. Insert the heel of the blade at the bottom of the eggplant and slide the knife slowly along the natural curve of the fruit. It helps to hold the base of the blade firmly between your thumb and index finger. Take care to maintain an even depth when scoring from the bottom to the top of the eggplant, and be sure not to cut all the way to the center of the fruit. Repeat this cut at regular intervals around the eggplant.
See the recipe for Simmered Eggplant and Chicken Breast.
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This page created September 2009
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