Fried rice and yum-yum sauce are often eaten with hibachi chicken and vegetables, and it’s the cooking style that makes the difference.
When I first went to a friend’s birthday at a Japanese steakhouse, I was very impressed with the skills of the cook.
At first, I was very anxious about the twirling of sharp knives. I was able to relax and enjoy the series when I found out that they performed these tricks many times a day.
We were shown fiery onion towers and eggs rolling on the hot grill and being sliced in half with a knife’s fast slice.
All vegetables are cut in advance so they’ll be ready to quickly added to the pan. The chef was able to throw chunks of rice into his shirt pocket and even into our mouths.
I must admit that I didn’t catch the first one that was thrown at me. But I didn’t give up, though.
Two more were tossed, and finally, I was able to catch the third one. I took a fast, seated bow when the table applauded and finally we were able to move on with the performance and dinner.
If you’re making hibachi chicken yourself, you don’t have to perform the cooking in this way of course, and making a delicious chicken recipe is actually quite easy:
Hibachi chicken and vegetables recipe
- 4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless and thinly sliced
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 package sliced mushrooms (use an 8 oz pack)
- 1 small head broccoli
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp soy sauce (low in sodium, preferable)
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- Start by slicing the meat and veggies into thin, bite-size pieces.
- In a large pan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and set it over medium-high heat.
- Melt 1 tbsp of butter and then add 1 tbsp of soy sauce to that same pan, then the chicken and season it using salt and pepper to taste. Make sure to stir it often. Once it’s properly cooked, set it aside and cover it with some foil.
- Using the same skillet, add 1 tbsp of butter, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, and all the veggies (onions, zucchini, broccoli), together with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until they’re tender enough to be pinched using a fork, so about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Then add the chicken and mushrooms back into that same skillet, together with the vegetables.
- Add an extra tablespoon of butter and the last tablespoon of soy sauce and finish cooking them until the mushrooms are tender and the chicken is properly heated throughout.
- If necessary, add more salt and pepper and then toss in a little lemon juice right before serving.
You can serve it with either fried or steamed rice and with pre-made Yum-Yum sauce or you can make your own.
My favorite pre-made sauce is this bottle from Terry Ho on Amazon. It has the original hibachi bbq flavor so it’s great if you don’t want to make your own:
How you can bring this experience home
While I thoroughly enjoy the long performance while dinner is being prepared in front of me, there are times when I just want the food.
I know you can order Hibachi chicken in the Japanese steakhouse’s regular restaurant area.
But honestly, sometimes I just want to be able to eat something delicious in my own house, where I’m comfortable.
That’s when I started trying out various ingredients until I finally found a combination that was just as flavorful as the one we had in the restaurant.
And the best part is that I didn’t have to worry about being able to catch flying food in my mouth.
Using exactly the same ingredients, you can easily make your Hibachi chicken into a recipe for a steak. The important thing is to thinly cut your meat so it can be cooked without drying out easily.
You can make chicken and vegetables simultaneously if you have a large griddle.
But when it’s done at home I usually cook the meat first, then the veggies and finally combine them together after everything’s done.
I serve it with a bed of rice, either brown or steamed. And don’t forget about the pre-made Yum- Yum sauce!
But don’t hesitate if you want to give it a try and make your own. Keep on reading to check out our home-made recipe!
What to look out for when making home-made hibachi chicken
I was extremely focused on finding an amazing Hibachi chicken recipe some time ago, went through dozens of them, and found nothing that could truly satisfy me.
After a few experiments, I realized that what the hibachi chefs do was not exactly the key to making the perfect hibachi chicken at home. It sounds unintelligent, but let me explain.
Almost every chicken hibachi recipe begins with four breasts of chicken. Sure, in Hibachi restaurants that is what they do, and sometimes they even prepare more.
Nevertheless, you must be mindful that the size of a hibachi grill is often bigger than the size of a fryer you might have at home.
Overcrowding causes the temperature to drop and fluids accumulate at the bottom of the frying pan so the meat does not brown properly and thus the flavor is lacking.
Cooking full breasts
See, hibachi grills have hot, medium and warm spots so that in seconds the chef can change between high and low temperatures.
This enables the chef to control the browning of meat and the cooking time, ensuring that chicken and sides are done at about the same time (rice, veggies).
We are very limited at home. We would need to use two or three frying pans simultaneously to get similar control. It’s almost unfeasible.
In a frying pan, it is a tricky business to cook a big chicken breast without any type of liquid since when the thickest part is cooked, in the majority of other areas it has become hard, rubbery, and even chalky.
Cutting the chicken too early
The last one is ‘not following what recipes that are poorly designed state that you should do’ instead of ‘not following what the hibachi chefs are doing’.
One of the worst experiences I had preparing Hibachi chicken was following the recipe given by a renowned recipe copycat.
The recipe stated to take 4 pieces of chicken breast, slice them into smaller pieces and then sauteing them on a fryer.
I ended up with a pile of white, flavorless rubber-like balls collecting one or two cups of juice at the bottom of the pan. Never again! Never again!
The solution to making perfect hibachi chicken
The solution came from my long-time favorite way of cooking chicken breasts on a frying pan –cutting them in half lengthwise and allow them to fry over medium-high heat for three minutes on each side.
This always works like a charm.
The other thing is to get the authentic Japanese flavors and one of the best ways to do that is to use the Negi onions as I talked about in this post for your grilling.
This is why: High heat helps the liquid to evaporate at a high rate so the chicken can get crispy without being dried out, as the breast is sliced thinly and cooks much more quickly. High heat easily eliminates moisture and makes great browning possible.
Since there is less meat on the pan and high cooking temperature, overcrowding is not a concern.
Once the chicken starts to cook, I like to partially cover the pan using the lid so some steam gets out but there’s also a good amount of steam inside the pan helping cook the chicken from the top.
This is a great way to get perfect browning and greatly reduce cooking time. It only takes six minutes to cook a chicken breast this way. Once that part is done, the rest is easy- peasy. You’ll just need to add the remaining ingredients, combine them together and serve. It’s that simple.
My approach has an added advantage: you won’t have to deal with a large number of pans in order to cook the chicken and rice or chicken and vegetables.
You’ll only need to first cook the veggies and/or rice, put them aside (somewhere they can stay warm), and then prep the chicken.
And since the meat is sliced thinly, it will be ready so quickly that the food you put aside won’t have a chance to cool down.
What is the difference between hibachi and teriyaki chicken?
The way they’re cooked might be the same, but “teriyaki” literally translates to “glossy grilled”, referring to the sweet glossy finish of the teriyaki chicken. The only difference with hibachi is the sauce because hibachi chicken is grilled only in soy sauce and therefore not glossy.
Other tips and tricks
I saw some chefs adding sesame seeds to hibachi chicken and sesame oil as well, but some don’t. I always do it since that adds a great deal of flavor.
Some chefs might also add mushrooms to their cooking. Since the fluid released from mushrooms interferes with the browning process,
I prefer to cook them separately. It’s easier to do that on a larger grill, but on a 12-inch pan, it’s virtually impossible.
In addition, mushrooms grill at a different pace than the chicken, so cooking them in the same pan at the same time is impractical.
If you like to use it, Teriyaki sauce can still be used in your hibachi chicken recipe, and I saw a few chefs add it. It’s just not that traditional or authentic.
One or two tablespoons are going to be enough in this recipe.
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If you do, you might want to skip the oil that will overshadow the sauce of teriyaki.
This chicken recipe will go great with a hibachi rice mix. Remember to make the rice first so you can just set it aside and keep it warm while you prepare the chicken.