Hibachi fried rice recipe sounds like something only a Japanese steakhouse should be able to offer, but the truth is that with a few simple ingredients and steps, you can prepare this perfect copycat recipe in the comfort of your home.
A Benihana chef knows that there are two very important things in any fried rice recipe: cold rice and a hot large frying pan.
So, get your white rice cooked one day in advance, warm up your pan and get this chicken fried rice going!
Let’s talk nutrition!
Rice, as a white carbohydrate, is often instantly removed from weight-loss diets, like most bread and pasta; the truth is that, as long as the diet is balanced and includes all nutrients needed by the body, white rice can be consumed by most people.
White rice is a great option for those allergic to gluten, as it is gluten-free; from rice, flour, noodles, pasta, and bread can be made, as well as vegan milk.
Rice is extremely easy to digest and some nutritionists tend to suggest a light meal with white rice in the evening when not able to eat at a reasonable time; it is also a great source of quick energy and it is especially enjoyed by athletes.
~~ If you enjoy rice and are looking for a quick vegetarian treat, try this delicious Egg Fried Rice, that gets ready in less than 5 minutes!
What is Hibachi Fried Rice?
The word Hibachi means ‘fire bowl’ in Japanese, as traditionally the large cast-iron cooking plate was warmed up on top of hot charcoal.
These days electric barbecues are used instead of an open fire with a large griddle on top, or, most commonly large woks on high heat flames.
While the traditional Hibachi fried rice recipe calls for loads of butter in the rice, this lighter version will skip this step, but a bit of butter can be added as an optional, as it is very high in calories and saturated fat.
How to make Hibachi chicken fried rice?
The most time-consuming steps in this light recipe are before all of the ingredients go into the hot wok.
Should you not have leftover rice, then prepare the required quantity as much in advance as possible. To have fragrant rice that is not sticky, wash it when raw until the starch is gone; the starch will be gone when, after adding water to the pot and mixing it with the rice, it will remain transparent. To cook the short-grain rice follow the instructions on the label (I tend to use 3 cups of water for every cup of raw rice) and then, once cooked, spread it on a large shallow pan or a baking sheet in a thin layer, without pressing it, so to allow it to cool down as quickly as possible; once the rice has cooled down, allow it to sit in the fridge to continue dehydrating, if possible overnight. Cold day-old rice out of the fridge will fry the best in hot oil.
Next, prepare the chicken; traditionally the chicken is cooked in the pan (or on Teppanyaki grills), however, precooking the chicken will help reduce the amount of oil required in this recipe, as well as the time needed. To cook the chicken breast, place it in a pan full of simmering water and allow it to fully cook; once the chicken is cooked, drain the water and allow it to cool down. You can decide how you prefer the chicken to cut it in small pieces, shredded or larger bites.
The third set of ingredients to prepare involve the vegetables chosen; in this recipe, I use green onions, shredded white cabbage, and carrots for color and crunch, however, you can add other vegetables such as green peas and bean sprouts if liked. Rather than overdoing it with too many ingredients, select the ones you like and let the cooking method and simple flavors do the job.
Before starting to cook the Hibachi fried rice, prepare the seasonings on the side; the main flavors in this dish are given by the lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, black pepper, fresh ginger, and thinly chopped garlic cloves.
In hibachi restaurants they use safflower oil in their recipe, however, if you do not have it you can use some sesame oil, peanut oil, or simple vegetable oil. Add the oil to a large skillet or wok and warm it up on medium-high heat until the oil and pan are both very hot; this is the best way to start the recipe, as the rice tastes its best when it is fried in hot oil without getting soggy.
Once the oil is hot, reduce to medium heat and add the ginger and garlic and allow them to lightly fry for about 30 seconds; once the smell of rawness of the garlic has gone, add the egg and allow it to cook for 15 seconds, before starting to scramble it. Allow also the egg to be thoroughly cooked before adding the cabbage, chicken, and carrot; once these are added, sauté everything well, then add the cold cooked rice and mix well once more. Cook the rice until this is piping hot, which should take 2-3 minutes on the large hot wok, then add the seasoning of black pepper, lemon juice, soy sauce, and salt.
Sauté the hibachi-style rice once more and add the chopped fresh green onions to it before serving and enjoying!
What is the benihana garlic butter?
Benihana’s secret restaurant recipe includes garlic butter that is made of unsalted butter, lemon juice, a little bit of soy sauce, and garlic. Although these per se are very basic ingredients, this recipe calls for lots of garlic butter, so to keep the calories and fats on the lower side I incorporated the lemon juice, soy sauce, and garlic, but skipped the butter.
Should you wish to prepare your Benihana copycat recipe with their butter, you can blend all of the ingredients and add it to the recipe, however, also remember to add the calories to the count if you are looking at that.
What is yum yum sauce?
Yum yum sauce is found in most Japanese restaurants in the United States and Canada, however, this is not typically found in Japan, as it is an invention of North America and it is part of the Benihana restaurant experience like many other teppanyaki-style restaurants.
How to cook chicken for fried rice?
Chicken for hibachi fried rice can be cooked in many ways, depending on preference, time, or calorie count. As I tend to meal prep the day before when I decide to cook fried rice, I usually boil and shred my chicken, as this also keeps the calorie count low.
Should one prefer, small pieces of chicken can also be panfried with some oil, or – for those not counting calories or enjoying a treat meal – deep fried with a light batter of cornflour, black pepper, salt, and egg.
What to serve with chicken fried rice?
Many dishes can be served to accompany the many fried rice recipes available, however stir-fried vegetables, light Asian style salads, and high protein-based side dishes, such as chicken teriyaki are perhaps lighter choices compared to sweet and sour pork dishes, dumplings or carbohydrates heavy sides.
A few notes:
Hibachi fried rice is Japanese fried rice and, although I am not Japanese, I like this dish so much I tried to prepare it in many ways to be able to incorporate it into my diet; although making swaps may not offer the true Benihana experience everyone talks about, there are a few that taste delicious and may help you with your weight loss plan in the long term.
- Rice: Japanese fried rice uses short-grain rice that is fluffy and a little bit sticky. Should you prefer or have at home long-grain rice such as Jasmine rice, there is no need to purchase Botan Calrose rice, but use what you have.
- Rice alternative: should you be avoiding white, brown rice or cauliflower rice are two great alternatives for this recipe.
- Sesame seeds: should you have some, sprinkle a few of them on top of your rice before serving; this is a trick my local Japanese restaurant uses, and as good home cooks we should use them at home!
- Room temperature: fried rice is best prepared when the ingredients are at room temperature; although the rice should spend the night in the fridge, try to get it out at least half an hour before cooking and try to do the same with the other ingredients. A hot pan with oil will allow the dry ingredients and room temperature to fry (with some parts turning golden brown), rather than simmer and absorb the oil.
- Chinese fried rice: the main difference between Japanese fried rice and Chinese fried rice is not only the use of the butter but also the use of Ajinomoto in Chinese cooking. Should you want a different take on this hibachi rice recipe, sprinkle some Ajinomoto on it at the same time as the other seasoning, but ensure you reduce your other salt (start with a pinch of salt then adjust as needed).
- Soy sauce: although this recipe calls for very little soy, should you have the option to go for low sodium soy sauce, as this will reduce the risk of water retention.
- Other sauces: again, not a Japanese sauce, but nevertheless a great fried rice accompaniment, Schezwan Sauce is a great way to add that little heat to your meal.
Have a go at this Hibachi fried rice recipe that is lighter and easy to add to your everyday lifestyle; to get going all you will need is a good wok, a cup of rice and you will be a Teppanyaki chef in no time.
This recipe is great if you aremeal prepping, packing lunch for work, or even just trying to use up some ingredients the next day. This is a great recipe and we should not need to wait for the weekend or a special treat to enjoy some Benihana chicken fried rice!
- If you liked this one, have a look at these other fantastic dishes:
Hibachi Fried Rice Recipe
- 240 g White Short Grain Rice
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 cloves Chopped Fresh Ginger
- 1/2 inch Chopped Fresh Garlic
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Thinly Sliced White Cabbage
- 120 g Shredded Boiled Chicken
- 3/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions Spring Onions
- 1 Carrot Peeled and Diced
- 1 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tsp Ajinomoto optional
- Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
Preparing the ingredients
- To have fragrant rice that is not sticky, wash it when raw until the starch is gone; the starch will be gone when, after adding water to the pot and mixing it with the rice, it will remain transparent. To cook the short-grain rice follow the instructions on the label (I tend to use 3 cups of water for every cup of raw rice) and then, once cooked, spread it on a large shallow pan or a baking sheet in a thin layer, without pressing it, so to allow it to cool down as quickly as possible; once the rice has cooled down, allow it to sit in the fridge to continue dehydrating, if possible overnight. Cold day-old rice out of the fridge will fry the best in hot oil.
- To cook the chicken breast, place it in a pan full of simmering water and allow it to fully cook; once the chicken is cooked, drain the water and allow it to cool down. You can decide how you prefer the chicken to cut it in small pieces, shredded or larger bites.
- Wash and chop all of the vegetables. Chop the carrots in small pieces, shred the cabbage, wash and slice the other vegetables as preferred.
Prepare the Hibachi Fried Rice
- Start by warming up the oil in a large wok on medium-high heat; once the pan and oil are hot, reduce the flame to medium, so not to burn the smaller ingredients that go in the pan.
- Add the ginger and garlic and allow them to lightly fry for about 30 seconds.
- Once the smell of rawness of the garlic has gone, add the egg and allow it to cook for 15 seconds, before starting to scramble it.
- Allow also the egg to be thoroughly cooked before adding the cabbage, chicken, and carrot; once these are added, sauté everything well, then add the cold cooked rice and mix well once more.
- Cook the rice until this is piping hot, which should take 2-3 minutes on the large hot wok, then add the seasoning of black pepper, lemon juice, soy sauce, and salt.
- Sauté the hibachi-style rice once more and add the chopped fresh green onions to it before serving and enjoying!