If you love cracking the code on a secret restaurant recipe, this article is for you! Keep reading for the best Benihana copycat recipe for hibachi fried rice. Whether you have a flat top grill or just good skillet, you're just a few minutes away from a fabulous hibachi experience at your own kitchen table.
Fried rice is a craveable dish in every variation! Classic Chinese takeout, Japanese hibachi fried rice, Thai fried rice - these are the dishes that fill my dreams.
For such a simple dish with big flavor, it can be tricky to create a really good at-home version of fried rice.
Not anymore! This simple recipe for Japanese hibachi fried rice is based on the popular US chain of Benihana, renowned for their fried rice.
Before we tackle the details, let's talk about a few keys to success in making fried rice at home
Top Tips: How to Make Perfect Hibachi Fried Rice
- Use day-old cooked rice: Freshly cooked rice tends to be moist and sticky, which is not ideal for fried rice. Use day-old rice that is cold. The slightly dried-out texture of the rice will help prevent it from clumping together during cooking.
- Prepare your ingredients in advance: Hibachi fried rice is a quick-cooking affair, so having all your ingredients chopped and ready before you start cooking makes the process easy and stress-free. This includes diced vegetables (carrots, onions, scallions.), proteins (such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu), and any additional seasonings or sauces (looking at you, Benihana garlic butter!)
- Heat a large skillet or wok: To achieve the characteristic smoky and slightly charred flavors of hibachi fried rice, it's important to cook it in a large skillet or wok over high heat. The high heat helps to quickly cook the ingredients while maintaining their crunchiness.
- Cook ingredients separately: For the best results, cook the ingredients separately before combining them. For this vegetarian version of hibachi fried rice, start by cooking the scrambled eggs, then remove from the pan. Next move to stir-frying the crunchy vegetables briefly until they're slightly tender but still crisp. Add the more tender aromatics like garlic and scallions before adding the rice and flavorings. This method ensures that each ingredient is cooked properly and retains its individual flavors, while building flavor in the entire dish.
- Add soy sauce (LIGHTLY) and other seasonings: Once the ingredients are cooked, push them to one side of the pan and add soy sauce to the other side. Allow the soy sauce to bubble up and condense briefly before combining it with the rice and veggies. This helps to reduce moisture and distribute evenly throughout the fried rice. We also add dry seasonings like salt and black pepper to enhance the taste. Remember that moisture is the enemy of fried rice, so add with a light touch. Instead, reach for dry spices instead (salt, dry ginger, dry chili flakes, etc.)
- Stir-fry strategy: Once all the ingredients are combined, stir-fry them quickly and continuously. This ensures that the rice and other ingredients are evenly coated with the flavors and cook evenly. Be mindful not to overcook the rice, as it can become mushy.
- Garnish liberally: Sprinkle scallions and sesame seeds over your mountain of fried rice. While not traditional to Japanese cooking, diced fresh cilantro adds delicious balancing flavor to savory fried rice. And I'm almost always serving fried rice (of every variety) with a jar of chili crisp. Because, of course!
Following these tips and you'll create a delicious and satisfying Japanese hibachi fried rice that rivals the flavors of your favorite restaurant.
What you need to make copycat Benihana fried rice recipe:
Rice: cold rice is easiest to turn into a perfect bowl of fried rice. You'll find medium grain white rice like Calrose sizzling away on the flat top grill in most hibachi restaurants. I prefer a long grain rice variety like Jasmine rice for this recipe. The grains are fluffy and less sticky and easier to manage for a home chef on a home kitchen stove. Regardless of your rice choice, be sure to rinse to reduce the starch and stickiness in the final version of your Japanese fried rice.
Eggs: scrambled eggs are essential to Japanese steakhouse fried rice!
Veggies: this perfect copycat recipe follows Benihana's lead by using finely diced yellow onion, carrot and green onions. Feel free to throw in a handful of frozen green peas, snow peas or any other fresh and crunchy veggie.
Garlic butter: Benihana garlic butter is the stuff of legend. Just 3 simple ingredients (butter, fresh garlic and light soy sauce) make this Benihana copycat recipe authentic and delicious. The garlic butter adds flavor and just enough moisture to keep the rice dry, which is the key to great fried rice!
Seasoning: light soy sauce, salt and black pepper is all you need here!
Safflower oil: my research shows this is the oil hibachi chefs most often use in your favorite restaurants. Other neutral oils like canola, peanut oil and vegetable oil are good substitutes. Stay away from olive oil, which has a lower smoke point and adds a lot of flavor to the dish.
Garnish: sesame seeds and sliced scallions put the finishing touch on your hibachi style fried rice.
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
How to Make Benihana Fried Rice: Step by Step Instructions
To begin your fried rice adventure, prepare all ingredients and have them out in bowls, ready to add to the wok or skillet. Using well chilled, day-old rice is ideal, but if you're in a fried rice emergency situation, just spread your rice on a baking sheet and pop in the freezer to cool quickly.
Whisk eggs well in a small bowl. Finely dice onion, carrot and scallions. Measure soy sauce into a small bowl. Measure 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper into a bowl.
Prepare garlic butter by stirring together softened butter, grated garlic and light soy sauce. Set aside.
Heat wok or large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil, along with beaten raw egg and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook well, cutting the eggs into small pieces. Once cooked, remove to a medium bowl. Wipe out pan and return to heat.
Next, add a teaspoon of oil to the pan, along with finely diced onion and carrots, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook 5-6 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Add scallions to the pan and toss for about 30 seconds.
Add the cooked vegetables to the bowl of cooked eggs. Wipe out pan and return to heat.
Now add the final 2 tablespoons of safflower oil to the hot skillet, along with your cooked and chilled rice, salt and pepper.
Use a wooden spatula to break up the rice and heat it through for 3-4 minutes, tossing and stirring. Now add the bowl of cooked vegetables and eggs, along with the garlic butter. Toss and heat through, letting the butter melt. Season with a good pinch of black pepper.
Finally, scrape the rice to the side of the pan and pour the soy sauce straight onto the pan, allowing the sauce to sizzle up for a few seconds and thicken. Too much moisture is the enemy of really delicious fried rice, so we want to maximize flavor while limiting liquid ingredients. By letting the soy sauce sizzle up and thicken for a few seconds, it concentrates the flavor and keeps the rice fluffy and seasoned.
Once the soy sauce has thickened, fold the rice into the soy glaze, tossing and cooking until it is well combined and evenly browned. Add the sesame seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat. Serve cooked fried rice with additional sliced scallions, Hibachi Shrimp, Hibachi Salmon, Grilled Hibachi Vegetables and Yum Yum Sauce.
FAQ's and What to Serve with Benihana's Best Fried Rice:
Hibachi is a traditional Japanese cooking method that involves grilling food over a high-heat charcoal fire. In modern cooking terms, "hibachi" is associated with a style of Japanese cuisine that involves cooking on a flat iron griddle or teppanyaki grill. Hibachi grills are typically large, flat cooking surfaces made of cast iron or steel. Hibachi-style cooking at home involves a variety of fresh ingredients, including vegetables, rice, and noodles, as well as shrimp and other proteins.
The basic ingredients for Benihana fried rice include cooked rice (preferably day-old and chilled), soy sauce, butter, garlic, onions, carrots, and eggs.
Add 1 cup of your choice of protein (such as chicken, shrimp, or beef). I often add extra scrambled eggs to the skillet to up the protein. And also because scrambled eggs are the best part of fried rice for me.
Traditionally, Japanese short-grain rice is used for fried rice. However, you can use other types of rice. Medium-grain or long-grain rice will work if that's what you have on hand. Just keep in mind that the texture and stickiness of the rice may vary slightly. Though not traditional, my preferred rice for Japanese fried rice is Jasmine rice. I have found that it consistently cooks up fluffy with individual grains that take well to frying up the next day.
Store leftover rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Print