Cutting Techniques

In preparing Japanese ingredients, the final desired texture and taste depend on how the food itself is cut. Japanese cuisine therefore has a wide array of cutting techniques, among them tanzaku-giri and icho-giri.

The shape of tanzaku-giri resembles that of a thin strip of paper (tanzaku), usually used for writing waka poetry and haiku. The cut of the shape itself is rather delicate, and therefore is one that can be cooked quickly. The tanzaku-giri technique is best suited for preparing soups and sauteed dishes.

The cutting style icho-giri takes its name from the leaves of the ginkgo tree (icho). Icho-giri is applied to those ingredients having a cylindrical shape.

  1. Tanzaku-giri
    Cut ingredients into pieces 4-5 cm (1.5-2 in.) and peel; then cut lengthwise to 2 mm (1/12 in.) widths. Finally, cut each piece lengthwise to a width of 1cm (1/2 in.).(photo1, 2)
    Delicate tofu and carrot soupDelicate tofu and carrot soup
  2. Icho-giri
    Peel a daikon and cut it lengthwise into halves and then into quarters. Place on cutting board with the cut surface down; then cut two pieces at a time to desired thickness, working from the edge.(photo3, 4)
    Salad of daikon and chrysanthemum leavesSalad of daikon and chrysanthemum leaves
photo1 photo2 photo3 photo4