Japanese people are not exactly known for their vegetarian-friendly ways. After all, bacon is often not considered meat in our great nation but rather, a topping. However, the Japanese do love to make the mundane look extraordinary, occasionally taking far too much time to do so.
There are several methods to go by when making simple roots and vegetation look amazing, from simple and quick, to time consuming and laborious.
Let’s have a look at the wonderful world of Japanese vegetable cutting styles – veggie art if you will.
This is by far, the most labour intensive method. On the bright side, all you need is a sharp knife, some creativity, and perhaps a YouTube video or book to go by. It is all about the way you slice, dice, and peel. Be warned, this may not be for the faint of heart or those that rarely venture into the kitchen, but from personal experience, I can tell you that it can be both therapeutic and relaxing. Provided you don’t julienne your fingertips.
Crosshatching is a popular (somewhat self-explanatory) method used especially with vegetables that are darker on the outside than on the inside. Check out the eggplant above, don’t you just want to dip it in a delicious sauce and ‘nom’ it to death?
The techniques for making flowers and flower shapes vary depending on the vegetable and knife. Popular shapes are cherry blossoms, tulips, roses, and for the more adventurous – chrysanthemums.
Simple shapes inspired by nature are always a popular treat on the table to add decoration to your average cucumber.
This is the lazy person’s way to enjoy delicious-looking healthy food, with all fingertips and skin intact. I am that lazy person.
You can find vegetable cutters in most stores that sell kitchen goods, from 100 Yen shops to high-end cookery boutiques. Personally, I stay clear of the 100 Yen variety. I don’t know if it is just me, but they seem to require a more solid whack to get the shape I want. My favourite cutters can be found at what I consider the mother of all kitchen, souvenir, and random Japanese goods: Tokyu Hands.
For a mere 573 yen, you can find yourself a variety of top quality, slice-through-on-the-first-attempt, stainless steel veggie cutters. The set comes in a dust proof box, is lightweight, and has all six shapes you need to make standard carrots look like they have just arrived from the Orient.
Now, go out and eat your deliciously beautiful vegetables!