How to Cook Zucchini Like a Japanese Hibachi Restaurant

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Chefs at Japanese hibachi restaurants transform cooking into performance art by preparing your meal in front of you on a large hibachi grill. The stars of a teppanyaki dinner are usually the meat dishes prepared over an open flame, but zucchini and onions are almost always prepared as a side dish for the meal. Most restaurants make the zucchini on a teppanyaki grill, which has a flat iron surface -- and you can easily re-create the dish at home with a cast iron skillet.

Step 1

Slice off each end of a small, tender zucchini; leave the skin intact. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and crosswise to make four roughly equal pieces. Then cut the zucchini into strips roughly the size of a fast food-style French fry. Cut an onion into slivers roughly 1/2 inch wide and 2 to 3 inches long.

Step 2

Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high to high heat. Toast sesame seeds in the pan for about 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove the sesame seeds and set them aside.

Step 3

Line the bottom of the skillet with butter or sesame oil. Heat the skillet just until the oil begins to smoke. Brush a bit of sesame oil on the zucchini and onion slices as well, to add flavor and prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan.

Step 4

Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until the onions soften and begin to turn translucent. The onions take longer to cook than the zucchini, so cooking them for a few minutes before adding the zucchini ensures both vegetables finish at the same time.

Step 5

Add the zucchini in with the onions, and stir to combine. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 6

Fry the zucchini and onions for about 3 minutes or until they're medium golden brown. Stir the vegetables constantly while frying to prevent sticking.

Step 7

Transfer the zucchini and onions to a plate. Garnish with a sprinkle of the toasted sesame seeds.