The Eastern cuisine and special chef tools: pchak knife

Posted by Inga 21/12/2018 1 Comment(s)

Pchak knife is a traditional and very ancient national knife of peoples of the Central Asia: the Uzbeks and the Uyghurs. This region is considered to be one of the oldest centers of civilization formation, and therefore it may boast of a rich cultural history, so unlike the traditions and customs of the West. And what can give a better idea of the life and customs of any nation? Of course, an authentic national instrument. After all, its geometry, purpose and key features can tell a lot about the identity of the ancient Oriental peoples. The Orient, as they say, is a delicate matter, and its culinary traditions are a serious science and even a philosophy.


During centuries Uzbekistan was inhabited by many nationalities. Their cuisine traditions have been developing and accumulating over the centuries. The result of this symbiosis is a unique Uzbek cuisine, the dishes of which have long been known and loved in many countries of the world (pilaw for example).


The main ingredient of the Uzbek dishes is meat which is cooked in various ways. Mostly it is a mutton: first of all because sheep breeding has always been widely developed in the country, and secondly, it is considered to be a ritual Islamic dish (and most of the population profess this religion). Much rarer, but still horse meat, beef and poultry are eaten. The Uzbeks almost do not eat fish, for a long time it was simply not available, and later when it was brought to the region it didn’t become popular.


Onion is the most popular among vegetables, as well as carrots, pumpkins and turnips. But they do not used to cook independent dishes, and they are used only as part of meat, flour or cereal dishes (pilaw, shawarma, lamian, dolma, chorba, shish kebab (barbeque), etc.).


Dishes made of flour are very common: lamian and dumplings, manpar, samosa, porn corn and johnny-cakes, which are used instead of bread. Dill, coriander, estragon, mint are the most popular among culinary plants.


And, of course, a variety of cereals: rice, groats of millet, peas, moong dal, other beans, etc. To handle such a variety of ingredients, a very special multipurpose tool was needed. It was the eastern pchak knife.


Pchak knife is the inheritance of the arms traditions of the Ottoman Turks


The name of the pchak knife (or pichak, pichok), in fact, is translated as a “knife”. Its appearance is very identifiable — once you see it, you will never forget it. This knife appeared round the 14th century just as it is now, and this is the best proof of the optimality of the geometry and efficiency of the knife in general — no one would use an inconvenient blade for as long as 7 centuries.


The blade shape is one of the basic varieties of the trailing point: the best straight spine drastically rises to the edge by 3-8 mm. The cross section is wedge-shaped, the heels are straight (rarely they are concave or lenticular). Blade near the handle may be of 4-5 mm thickness tapering to the edge to 0 mm. The blade is quite wide, sometimes it is up to 50 mm. Its length ranges from 160 to 220 mm. Initially, the blade was sharpened only from one side, but today both types of sharpening are common — one-sided and familiar to the Europeans double-sided.


This geometry provides the maximum length of the cutting edge and the magnificent properties of the cut, this makes the pchak knife to be a truly utility and multifunctional tool. It may be used to dress a carcass, to cut flesh, vegetables, greens or dough for noodles. It works fine for fish, even if it was not its intended function. In general, there are several types of this knife. For example, tugri with a perfectly straight spine and a significant point, or tolbargi, slightly similar to the Japanese leaf-shaped blades with a spine curving to the tip, and others. But the world’s most popular and widespread is a traditional Kayik with a raised tip.


The handle is also the interesting part of the pchak knife. It is always considerably narrower than the blade, but slightly widens at the butt and bends down at the end. It is very comfortable and convenient to hold such a handle.


If we talk about traditional Uzbek knives, they were often luxuriously decorated as is customary in the Oriental countries. For rich clients, craftsmen made blades of Damascus steel and bulat steel, and handles were made of bone, wood or horn. If other materials were used to make a handle, then they were decorated with an ornament, damascening, mother of pearl or semiprecious and precious jewels and were rather real pieces of art and collectible items than ordinary kitchen tools.


But even today the pchak knife remains a unique and distinctive kind of knives with a true oriental charm — a recommendable sample of the national Uzbek knives.


New unique collection from Samura: pchak knife and Chef’s knife


We are glad to inform our regular customers and everyone who is interested in the history of knife art development that now you may find the Uzbek national knives in the on-line store! This spring we present the novelty of the season — the Samura Sultan collection made in the oriental national traditions, but with the usage of the best modern technologies and materials of the Japanese knife production.


This collection includes two knives: Chef’s knife and the classic pchak knife. Blade of the Chef’s knife is the one specific to the Uzbek pchaks — tugri, with a straight spine and very sharp tip. Blade of the classic pchak is similar to the standard Kayik, with a point rising above the spine. 


They are made of 67-layered Damascus steel with a hardness of 61 HRC providing perfect sharpness for a very long time, it does not need any maintenance for years. The hard core and outer layers of the soft steel form a unique blade texture and give it an indescribable beauty, that is a visiting card of Damascus. Both knives have a double-sided symmetrical sharpening that is customary to the Europeans.


In keeping with trends, the handle is made of a high-quality G-10 plastic— a very hygienic, safe and durable material. However, the national feature of the classic pchak is also present: the blade tang runs through the entire length of the handle and completely repeats its contours expanding to the butt and bending down at the end.


The Chef's knife and the pchak knife of the Samura Sultan collection will be perfect accessories in the kitchen and ring changes in a daily routine.