Is anyone here good at katsuramuki technique? Tips?
Pretty self explanatory title.
I'm using a very thin gyuto to practice with. I know a usuba would be better, but I've heard it should still be possible with a gyuto. It has about 4 inches of dead flat profile at the heel end of the knife, and is plenty sharp.
In particular, I've had difficulty in cutting daikon into a nicely rounded cylinder in the first place while removing the peel. Any tips?
What should I be doing with the thumb on my off hand as I cut? It should be placed over where the edge meets the daikon, right? Should I be applying any pressure? I should be moving the knife up and down rather than the daikon, right?
Does a polished knife edge or a toothy edge work better for the job?
Any other tips?
It takes practice. Practice with something cheap like a potato and then cook it all up when you're done.
Make the thing as round as possible first. This takes time to learn, but if it's not round it will be much more difficult because you will try to make your sheet even by turning the knife, which makes the thing even less round as you progress.
Only cut on the upstroke. You have to still have the knife pressed forward a little on the downstroke, but most of the forward movement of the blade should be while it moves up.
Your thumbs are the guide. You feel the thickeness of what you are cutting right under each thumb. Keep your eye on the top edge and feel the thickness at the bottom only with your thumb. The top thumb is used to feel too, but you use your eyes more at the top. Do not apply pressure, it will just leave a long indented line under where your thumb is.
The thing you are cutting does not move besides its rotation. While you rotate it, visualize the knife moving up to the left at an angle. This will help a lot. As you rotate with your left hand, the knife should move towards 10 O'Clock at about the same speed as you are turning your left hand.
Here’s a breakdown of what you’re supposed to do
And a way to do it, if you can’t
FWIW, I’ve only tried it the real way a half a dozen or so times and pretty much suck at it. However, it’s much easier to practice on softer veggies like a cucumber than a dakon or carrot. A gyuto or double bevel blade may work, but I wasn’t able to get very far before messing up the cut. I’ve got much further along with a Yanagiba or Usaba and had a much easier time keeping the sheet thin, and even.
For safety reasons, I suggest learning with a toothier edge as it won’t slip as easily as a polished edge.