What comes to mind when you hear the word hibachi? A giant grill, flashes of flame, and an onion volcano? You’re not alone.
Technically, hibachi refers to a style of grill, but the hibachi experience in the U.S. is about way more than food. It’s dinner and a show rolled into one. Hibachi chefs rose to fame for their knife twirling and shrimp tossing antics, even though several of the most famous examples are actually cooking on a teppanyaki grill.
For John Adler, head chef of Blue Apron, hibachi is defined by its flavor profile. Namely: a balance of sweetness and pleasant bitterness. The sweetness comes from the sauces and natural sugars in the ingredients, the bitterness is from creating hard sear over high heat.
Luckily, those flavors don’t have to come off of a hibachi grill. Maybe you can’t make an onion volcano at home, but according to chef John, “you can create all the same flavors with a really good pan.”
If you’re looking for a cooking challenge, grab a pan and keep reading. This is everything you need to know to attempt hibachi at home.
Go for a diversity of proteins:
Chef John chose steak and shrimp for a luxe and delicious dinner
Turn up the heat
Hibachi is all about high heat. You need a super hot surface to achieve the signature char flavor of a hibachi meal. Don’t despair if your stove top is a little finicky; Chef John recommends taking your oven safe pan, and preheating it in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. That will give you a jump start, and make sure your pan is up to temperature before you start searing. Just watch out for the hot handle!
Don’t fear the sear
This part is important. After you’ve made sure that your pan is truly hot, you need to let the heat do its work. Don’t be afraid to leave your proteins in the pan without touching them for a few minutes. You’ll know they’re ready to be flipped when you start to smell a slightly sweet charred aroma.
Choose your vegetables wisely
Chef John says vegetables with a high natural sugar content will stand up to the high-heat and caramelize beautifully.
Don’t forget a rice element:
A hibachi rice dish could incorporate cooked vegetables, like fried rice, or it could be a simple steamed rice with a few nice herbs.
Season with a vision
In a restaurant, the hibachi experience isn’t exactly subtle: protein is flying through the air, knives are flashing, and everyone is laughing in delight. By cooking hibachi at home, you’ll be able to appreciate some of the more delicate flavors in a more subdued environment. One of Chef John’s favorite hibachi elements is the continuity of flavor that is found throughout the elements of the dish. For his version, Chef John chose to season his proteins with togarashi, a spice blend that includes orange peel. To complement that flavor, he also created a citrus ponzu that’s served alongside the meal. These two citrus elements serve to tie the meal together.
Learn about making hibachi at home, and other advanced cooking techniques, with Blue Apron Premium