Food Forum presents Fundamentals 101, a glimpse at the underlying principles behind Japanese cuisine and food culture. To kick off this new segment, we are focusing on Japanese food-preparation techniques. Here, we shine a light on the technique of knife-scoring.
Kakushi bocho is the technique of lightly scoring the surface of ingredients with a knife, used not only in restaurants, but in home cooking. Scoring encourages the absorption of seasonings and effective heat conduction to ensure quick, even cooking, particularly with less-absorbent ingredients. This subtle technique helps increase the deliciousness of the dish. When preparing simmered dishes, for example, delicate scoring allows ingredients to maintain their shape and texture while soaking up the simmering liquid.
Kakushi bocho is also used in preparing sashimi. The scored surface helps soy sauce transfer onto the raw fish and makes it easier to eat. When used to prepare salt-grilled or boiled fish, kakushi bocho prevents the skin from shrinking and allows for efficient cooking. One slight touch of the blade makes all the difference in the taste of the dish.