Teppanyaki refers to a dish of veggies, fish, and meat that is prepared using a large griddle that is commonly built into the table of diners. The term teppanyaki comes from teppan, meaning iron plate, and yaki, meaning grilled, pan-fried, or broiled.
Teppanyaki is considered a live kitchen cooking method, wherein the chef prepares the dish in front of customers. The guests will then choose the cooking style that they desire and select the seasoning themselves. Equipped with the right skills and cooking devices, the chef will do the rest of the preparations. Usually, each dish is prepared one at a time in order for the diner to appreciate the taste of the food and flair of the cooking style.
Teppanyaki should not be regarded as similar to barbecue grill. The latter utilizes gas flame or charcoal and has an open grate structure, while the teppanyaki plate has a flat design, which is perfect when cooking small ingredients such as little cuts of meat, chopped veggies, egg, and rice.
If you’re not sure yet what types of grill to buy, it would be better to include teppanyaki on your list. The benefits of using this type of grill are explained in the next sections.
The Beginning of Teppanyaki
Teppanyaki-style steakhouse was first served in a Japanese restaurant chain known as Misono. They originated the idea of cooking Western food on a teppan in 1945. Teppanyaki has been popular in Japan for centuries. This is regarded as a Japanese-style cooking method, but many people in Japan believe that this originated from Western countries.
Advantages of Using a Teppanyaki Grill
A lot of traditional barbecue grills are designed to have grate openings, making it unsuitable to cook little food items such as eggs, fish, and chopped veggies. Obviously, these food items will fall into the fire through the grate openings. This way, there’s a great possibility that the food you’re cooking will get burned. This is certainly different from those traditional grills since this is designed with a solid flat surface, enabling the user to grill food without throwing some portions away. The ingredients are in direct contact of the surface of the grill, making the food juices to be also heated and cooked properly. Therefore, dishes prepared using a teppanyaki grill have enhanced flavor, most especially if these are accompanied with sauces.
As mentioned earlier, teppanyaki is greatly influenced by Western cooking; therefore, the ingredients used are also westernized. These include lobster, shrimp, chicken, beef, scallop, and a wide variety of veggies.
The most common oil used in cooking the ingredients is soybean oil. Teppanyaki is also served with side dishes such as zucchini (although this is not common in Japan), mung beans, fried rice, and garlic chips. International restaurants also provide special sauces, but only soy sauce is offered in Japanese restaurants.
Selecting the Right Teppanyaki Grill
There are a wide variety of teppanyaki grill models that you can see in the market these days. They vary according to price and specifications. If you want a grill that can be conveniently cleaned after using it, you may select a teppanyaki grill that is made up of stainless steel. But if you prefer a grill that has the capacity to uniformly distribute heat throughout the surface, it is best to choose those grills that are made up of cast iron. Since heat is evenly distributed, you can be assured that your ingredients can be properly cooked. When it comes to cooking location, there are teppanyaki grills that are suitable for outdoor use. Outdoor grill models utilize portable fuels such as liquid propane and natural gas. The grill’s burner system is securely enclosed; thus, strong winds cannot interrupt its functionality. On the other hand, indoor models are powered by electricity, which is more convenient to maneuver.