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What Is Used to Cook Hibachi Chicken?

by Tom Ryan

In the United States, "hibachi" and "teppanyaki" are frequently interchangeable terms, though they refer to different styles of cooking. While hibachi style refers to a small grill, teppanyaki refers to cooking on a hot griddle. The use of the griddle allows you to cook smaller-sized foods that aren't suitable for a traditional hibachi grill, like rice, and requires a different set of tools and ingredients.

The Teppanyaki Griddle

Japanese teppanyaki cuisine, which may be referred to in the United States as "hibachi," uses an appliance that doesn't typically come standard in American kitchens: a large, iron griddle. In teppanyaki restaurants, this is typically a large electric griddle surrounded by a table and chairs, so that guests can watch their food prepared before their eyes. At home, it can be either a smaller electric griddle or a plain iron one that sits atop your stove and is heated by your burners. These griddles are also used in Korean cooking, and the cooking styles that utilize the griddle are similar.

Prepared Ingredients

Before you heat the griddle, you should ensure that all of your ingredients are prepared and nearby, so you don't have to leave it unattended once it heats up. Teppanyaki recipes are generally variations on stir-fry, which mixes chopped chicken with vegetables and rice. The hot grill can easily scorch your meat, burning its outside and drying it throughout, so don't attempt to large pieces of chicken like whole breasts or wings. Chop up the chicken into smaller, cubed pieces, which can be easily tossed and flipped across the griddle top.

Sauces and More

In addition to the chicken and vegetables, you need different sauces, oils and seasonings to prepare teppanyaki-style chicken. Vegetable oil helps lubricate the griddle and prevent your food from sticking to it -- you may even fill a squirt bottle with oil so that you can quickly and one-handedly apply more as you cook. Unlike traditional hibachi grills, teppanyaki griddles lend themselves well to preparing rice, as well. Mix egg with your chicken, vegetables and rice to make chicken-fried rice stir-fry. Soy sauce is also a common and traditional ingredient that you can add as you grill to give your chicken a flavor boost.

Cooking Tools

One of the most critical tools you need to cook teppanyaki chicken is actually tools: your spatulas. Teppanyaki spatulas are long, flat, stainless steel spatulas without any slats or holes in them. Because of this, with one in each hand, you can easily use them to stir and flip small ingredients like chopped chicken, rice, peas, diced onion and more. You need long, flat teppanyaki spatulas so that you can scoop your chicken and other ingredients up off of the hot griddle without hurting yourself, and to gently scrape up food that is sticking to the flat top.