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Oroshigane: the Japanese grater

With so much emphasis on French cuisine in the professional kitchen, it’s easy to overlook some incredibly useful tools the Japanese have invented. Knives are a particularly prominent example, with santoku-style choppers and single-beveled edge sashimi knives now becoming commonplace in Western kitchens.

Another firm favourite amongst professional cooks is the Global range of knives, offering harder, sharper blades and a lighter, more ergonomic design than their more traditional German and French cousins.

However, the tool I’m going to introduce to you is the oroshigane, or Japanese grater.

It’s essentially a flat piece of metal with very fine tooth-like spikes dotted over the surface. Rubbing a vegetable over the spikes in a circular motion, e.g. garlic or ginger, produces an incredibly fine paste in a matter of seconds. Traditionally fresh wasabi root would be grated in the same fashion on a wooden board covered in sandpaper-like shark skin, and you can replicate the finer surface by placing tinfoil over the modern metal oroshigane. Much easier and quicker than mincing using a knife or a blender, and it produces far better results.

Mind your fingers.

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