Hibachi fried rice is a delicious, easy-to-make meal that's great for busy weeknights. The word 'hibachi' in Japanese translates to fire bowl, and the description is apt as this dish is made with a covered bowl and high heat.
We fell in love with this dish when we first tried it out in an Izakaya (Japanese pub). Since then, we explored various recipes to find out how to make Hibachi fried rice. Finally, we've come up with the perfect combination that's closest to what we had in Japan.
So instead of going to a restaurant, try our recipe at home when you need a fuss-free meal on a lazy weekday night! When you order from the restaurant, you may not know how the chef has cooked your food, and you might not be able to add what you like.
Making homemade fried rice, or chahan in Japanese grants you an excellent chance to customise your meal. You will be able to get in your extra veggies and protein so you can feel good about yourself and enjoy your meal.
So, keep reading if you want to discover our secret to Hibachi fried rice and make an easy-to-cook home-cooked dish.
Difference between Chinese fried rice and Hibachi
The key difference is that Hibachi fried rice is cooked in butter and oil, while the Chinese version of this fried dish is just grains cooked only in oil.
You will also notice that the Japanese dish has fewer sauces compared to the Chinese version.
Another difference is the type of grain that is used. The Japanese version of this dish uses a short-grain variety, which is a common sushi roll ingredient. The short-grain variety tastes slightly stickier and chewier.
On the other hand, the Chinese version uses a long-grain variety, so you get a firmer bite without the glutinous taste of its Japanese counterpart. A regular serving of Hibachi fried rice has about 500 calories.
Hibachi fried rice ingredients
To make this delicious dish, you will need the following ingredients:
You can choose not to include meat. However, adding shrimp will elevate the dish. Use shrimp with their tails and shells removed. Additionally, make sure they are also deveined. Thaw, and pat the shrimp dry, before grilling them with the chahan.
Another great combination is chicken or steak. Cut chicken breasts into small pieces, so the meat can cook more thoroughly when you fry the overall dish. You can also use chicken thighs and cook them at high heat.
Similarly, you could use a strip steak such as sirloin. There is more marbling in strip steaks, and the fat will caramelise when you fry it. Also, the juices that ooze out from the tender meat will make your Hibachi fried rice dish oh-so fragrant.
As for vegetables, onions and ginger are usually included because they lend a fiery, sharp heat to the final dish. However, if you need more fibre, you can always add carrots and peas.
Baby mushrooms, bell peppers and green zucchinis are also highly recommended because they taste great when fried and add a burst of flavour. On the other hand, leafy vegetables are not recommended as they are much more challenging to fry and can overwhelm the dish. However, if you want to, be sure to slice the vegetables into smaller strips for cooking. We recommend green beans or cabbage.
If you are vegan and want to know how to make Hibachi fried rice with no egg, it's simple. Include more peas and carrots for the flavour. To substitute the smooth taste of eggs that holds the grains together, try scrambled silken tofu with a pinch of black salt. Alternatively, use mashed bananas or plain yoghurt. You can also add mashed oats. Additionally, use vegan butter instead of regular butter.
You will need short Japanese grains (like the variety used for sushi) if you want a chewy, sticky texture. Using cooked leftover rice that has been cooled overnight in a refrigerator is better because the dry and cold one-day-old grains tend to hold their shape better when you fry it. Otherwise, you can also use long-grain varieties such as Jasmine or brown, which are much easier to find in grocery stores. Long-grain varieties are firmer in texture when you cook them.
Hibachi fried rice seasoning
The secret to Hibachi fried rice is the seasoning, which combines sesame oil, olive oil, and rice cooking wine with soy sauce. However, Hibachi chefs might also add ginger for a bit of heat or garlic for a more intense flavour to the grains and sweeten it with honey or brown sugar.
Additionally, restaurant chefs may also use a Japanese seasoning known as Shichimi Togarashi for Hibachi fried rice. This seasoning is a 7-spice powder you can get in most Asian supermarkets or online on Amazon.
The taste of this seasoning is fantastic! If you get your hands on this spicy-sour seasoning, sprinkle it lightly over a dish of chahan and savour the difference. If you are not allergic to it, you can also try Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavour enhancer, as a substitute seasoning. Use a Japanese brand, Ajinomoto, which you can easily find at any Japanese supermarket.
How to make Hibachi fried rice
If you want to know how to make Hibachi fried rice properly, follow these cooking tips so you can cook your chahan perfectly.
Cooking the rice
Firstly, here's what to know when you cook rice. Although adding butter softens the grains and adds a richer taste, you might prefer a less creamy version. In that case, you can always add just one teaspoon of butter but mix in more oil for your homemade Japanese fried rice recipe. Use heart-healthy fats such as olive or sesame oil. It will lightly coat the grains and achieve the same effect as butter.
Next, to avoid burning, heat the grill to high heat. Keep moving the grains around if you use a frying pan or wok while making this dish. Spread oil evenly in the frying pan to avoid burning the rice.
Using day-old rice will also prevent the grains from clumping or turning sticky when you cook it.
Finally, to ensure that the sauce evenly covers the grains, add any sauce before you start cooking. Let the sauce simmer for 1-2 minutes before tossing the grains. Should your dish turn out slightly charred, do not worry! The fried parts can add a satisfying crunch.
How to prepare tender meat
Next, if you are adding meat to your dish of Hibachi fried rice, here are tips for the most tender meat cuts.
Firstly, you can marinate your chicken or steak to avoid getting tough meat. Use soy sauce, rice wine, and some salt. The salt will dissolve the proteins in the meat, rendering it tender.
Apart from marinating it, you can also prepare the meat by physically tenderising it. Use a fork or knife to make small cuts. Alternatively, you can use a meat mallet to pound it. Doing this will weaken the muscle fibres in the chicken or beef.
Another tip is to let the meat sit at room temperature for about half an hour before cooking, making it softer.
Finally, slice crosswise against the grain when you prepare the meat. It will sever the fibres, so you don't have to chew so hard while eating.
How to store
Finally, if you want to store your Hibachi fried rice so you can eat it later, the good news is you can! Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Keep leftover portions of Hibachi fried rice frozen if you intend to keep it for more than a day.
When ready, take it out and microwave it before cooking it. Make sure you heat it to at least 165 degrees celsius for a few minutes to kill any bacteria, and do not reheat the frozen leftovers more than once. It's best to finish leftovers in the refrigerator after 3-4 days. Although you can keep frozen cooked rice for up to three months, we do not recommend it, as these leftovers can cause food poisoning.
Hibachi Fried Rice Recipe
- Heat a large wok over high heat. Add the oil to the pan. Then, crack open and add the eggs to the pan. Scramble them in the pan. Remove and set aside for later.
- Add the butter to the pan and let it melt. Add the onions and the grated ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Add cooked rice and eggs to the pan. Slowly drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil into the pan. Stir the sauce gently so it coats the grains evenly.
- Flatten the grains into a thin layer and allow them to sizzle for 30 seconds. Stir, let it sizzle and repeat 2-3 times until the grains start popping, sprinkle salt or any additional seasoning. You can also garnish with chopped onions. Now you're ready to serve your plate of Hibachi fried rice.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Teppanyaki vs Hibachi
If you're wondering whether teppanyaki fried rice is similar to Hibachi fried rice, the answer is no. The grilling equipment is completely different. Teppanyaki grills are rectangular flat iron griddles above a heat source, usually electricity.
However, when you see Hibachi fried rice on a griddle in a traditional Japanese restaurant, you will notice that it is cooked over charcoal on a shichirin. A shichirin is a small barbecue grill with an open-grate design on top. Japanese cooks place the food over the grill and heat it up using charcoal on a stove.
Additionally, in many traditional Japanese restaurants, Hibachi fried rice is fried simply in a container made of wood or ceramic and lined with metal. However, teppanyaki cooking methods are usually a performative art form. Teppanyaki chefs use various cooking methods, such as tossing the grains in the air before frying them on the grill directly. Traditionally, there are also more meat options in Teppanyaki cooking.
But, of course, with modern cooking methods, you can always use a Dutch oven, frying pan or skillet to fry all the ingredients over high heat and not necessarily a shichirin.
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