Benihana, Inc. owns and licenses restaurants in the Benihana and Benihana Grill chain of Japanese dinnerhouses. The restaurants specialize in an exhibition-style of Japanese cooking called teppanyaki. Customers sit around a communal table at which a Benihana chef slices their seafood, steak, chicken, and vegetables with lightning speed, grills their meal right in front of them, and then tosses it accurately onto their plates. The restaurants are decorated with Samurai armor and valuable art, and Shoji rice paper screens partition the dining areas.




Cooking Japanese at Home

Japanese Teppanyaki

Teppanyaki is a Japanese style of cooking food; "teppan" refers to the electric iron grill or griddle used to cook on, and "yaki" means to grill. There are no set rules to cooking teppanyaki, other than that the meals are meant to be cooked around the table and shared. Teppanyaki is more than just a tasty meal; it is a social gathering. A variety of vegetables and meats are cut up beforehand and set out on a large platter, which is placed next to the hot oiled griddle. Assemble meat, vegetables, sauces and condiments on the table, and each person chooses, cooks and garnishes his or her own dish. Each person has a bowl of rice, a plate, and one or more dipping sauces. They select their food from the platter and cook it on the griddle in front of them until it is done to their liking. Food is dipped in the sauce and eaten with chopsticks in one hand and bowl of rice in the other, so that the rice catches any sauce that may drip. This gives the rice extra flavor, and it is the typical way the Japanese eat just about any food.

Items you will need

  • Teppanyaki grill   You can use a plain old electric griddle, like what your mom used to cook pancakes on.  
  • Raw meat, thinly sliced or cut into bite sized pieces
  • Raw vegetables, julienned or cut into bite sized pieces
  • Soybean oil or other vegetable oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Spatula
  • Condiments such as fresh lemons, scallions, radish, rice vinegar and wasabi

Step 1  Preheat your teppanyaki grill or griddle to medium high, 375 to 400 degrees.

Step 2  Lightly coat the cooking surface with oil.

Step 3  Dip meat in soy sauce and place on the grill. Cook for three to four minutes.

Step 4  Turn meat over and cook for another three to four minutes or until cooked through.

Step 5   While meat is cooking, place vegetables on the hot grill. Cook for three to five minutes, stirring often with the spatula. Popular teppanyaki vegetables are carrots, onion, bean sprout, zucchini and mushrooms.

Step 6   Portion onto individual plates and serve.

Step 7   Each person adds his own sauces and condiments to taste. Serve sauces in small bowls to enhance the flavor of your teppanyaki.

Step 8   Use your grill to fry up your side dishes, like fried rice or soba noodles, alongside your meat and veggies.