If you'd like to recreate some of that Benihana magic at home - look no further. This is the perfect Hibachi Fried Rice Recipe - Benihana Copycat!
What is Benihana's Hibachi Fried Rice?
Benihana's Hibachi Fried Rice is an iconic dish served by the Benihana restaurant franchise which is famous for serving meals on "teppanyaki" or flat grill top tables. As part of the experience, a specially trained Benihana chef demonstrates breathtaking tricks and flourishes while cooking hibachi (hot grill) style dishes in front of guests.
There is something about Benihana's fried rice that makes it extra special and different from regular fried rice. Like most fried rice recipes, the Benihana style fried rice uses cold, day old rice, a mixture of eggs, meats and vegetables, soy sauce and is cooked on high heat. Yet something about it is different..
So what is the secret to Benihana Fried Rice?
The secret to that depth of flavor in Benihana Fried rice is the special roasted garlic butter. Unlike Chinese fried rice, where minced garlic is sautéed in butter or oil, the benihana garlic butter is made up of mashed up oven roasted garlic, sweet whipped butter, freshly ground black pepper, soy sauce and an optional squeeze of lemon juice.
When I first tasted this special garlic butter - I could not believe it - it was one of those "OMG THATS SO TASTY!!" experiences.
Many copycat recipes call for minced garlic mixed with butter - don't be fooled - the oven roasted garlic, soy sauce and other ingredients mixed in with the whipped butter is what makes the difference. Shockingly, the special garlic butter is not hard at all to make - full details are provided below.
But can you really make Benihana Fried Rice at home?
With a few tips, home cooks can definitely make this Hibachi Fried Rice Recipe - Benihana Copycat at home. Instead of a flat top grill, fire up a wok or a cast iron skillet on the highest temperature possible. All the ingredients are easily available at your local grocery store. The garlic butter is easy to make and requires only a few minutes of prep work - the oven does the rest. It's so tasty you will want to make an extra batch to keep in the fridge, especially during grilling season. It's fantastic on everything from pan roasted chicken, seafood, steak to stir-fried vegetables!
What do you need to make Benihana Chicken Fried Rice?
This Benihana Hibachi Fried Rice recipe requires only a few ingredients, all of which should be very easy to find at local supermarkets in North America. While the fried rice itself is cooked very quickly, the signature benihana garlic butter is the only thing that needs to be pre-made to complete this perfect copycat recipe.
- Use a neutral vegetable oil, like corn, canola or vegetable oil. Safflower oil is preferable and is typically used in hibachi restaurants because it has a very high smoking point. Olive oil, while healthier does not work as well with this recipe as it has a lower smoking point and competes with the other flavors.
- Assorted diced/sliced vegetables adds a delicious taste and textural counterpoint to the salty, chewy taste of the rice. Frozen diced carrots, green peas and baby corn add texture and color and are also a fuss free alternative. Sliced canned water chestnuts, peanuts or bean sprouts, while not conventionally used in Benihana fried rice adds a delicious gourmet twist.
- The scrambled eggs add additional flavor and texture.
- Chicken breast is typically used in hibachi restaurants and cut into small pieces and stir fried. You can also use chicken thighs, shrimp, thin pieces of beef or fried tofu (firm) instead of chicken breast.
- For optimal results, use cold day old or leftover rice made with short or medium grain rice. Many Japanese restaurants use short grain rice or Calrose rice. Longer grain varieties like basmati and parboiled rice tends to be dryer and break during the frying process. Short or medium grain rice tends to have that plump, chewy texture that is the hallmark of outstanding fried rice. Having said that almost any type white rice works - I typically use jasmine rice and sometimes also use brown rice when I want a nuttier, chewy texture. By the way this is a great recipe to make with cauliflower rice. Instructions on how to cook rice specifically for fried rice is provided below.
Sauce & Garnish
- Soy sauce is a key ingredient in this dish and provides the main source of flavor and color besides the garlic butter. Soy sauce is unique in that it contains all five tastes – umami, sweetness, saltiness, bitterness and sourness and a unique combination of aromas.
- In this particular recipe, freshly ground pepper plays a central role in adding heat. Omit or reduce the amount of pepper based on your own preference.
- I like to use a little sesame oil to enhance the sesame flavor.
- Garlic butter is the secret to the signature benihana taste. Details on how to make it are provided below.
- Sesame seeds are added to this dish to give a hint of nuttiness and color. I like to sprinkle it on as a garnish.
- Green onion or scallions are sliced and typically used as a garnish.
Ingredients for Benihana's Garlic butter
Below are the ingredients needed to make the garlic butter, an essential ingredient in this Benihana Copycat Hibachi Fried Rice Recipe:
- Oven roasted garlic
- Sweet whipped butter, at room temperature.
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Soy Sauce
- Lemon Juice
How to make Benihana's Garlic Butter
Step One: Preheat oven to 350°F
Step Two: Cut about a third off the top of 5 heads of garlic. Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.
Step Three: Bake the garlic for about 30 minutes or until they are soft inside.
Step Four: Press out the soft, roasted garlic cloves into a medium bowl and mash with a fork or spoon. Wait for the mashed garlic to cool.
Step Five: Add about two tablespoons of room temperature whipped butter to the cooled mashed garlic. Beat with a spoon until fully combined. Add the remaining butter in half cup portions and continue mixing until all the butter has been added.
Step Six: Add the freshly ground black pepper, soy sauce and lemon juice and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to use. Do taste a little and let me know what you think!
How to make this Benihana Hibachi Fried Rice Recipe
Once all the ingredients are on hand, the cooking process itself takes only about 5-10 minutes. However starting from scratch is also fuss free and adds only about 10 minutes of prep time.
Prep the Ingredients
- Fluff the cold rice – break up any clumps so that all the grains are separated.
- Whisk the eggs and set aside.
- Prep the chicken, veggies and other ingredients Put on a plate close to the cooking area.
Stir fry the rice
Step One: Heat a large skillet (preferably a large cast iron pan) or wok for at least 5 minutes until it is smoking hot. Using a wok or cast iron skillet is really important because it helps mimic the high heat cooking temperature typical of a Japanese steakhouse or hibachi restaurant. This recipe does not work on medium heat or low heat.
Step Two: Add the oil and scramble the eggs. Push the eggs to one side. While the eggs are still runny, add the chicken and saute until golden brown (about 80% cooked). Add onions and sauté continuously until the onions are transparent - about 2-3 minutes. Add half the cold rice and mix well. Then repeat with the remaining rice.. Be sure to break down any clumps. Add lots of garlic butter, frozen peas and carrots the soy sauce and a little sesame oil. Sauté while mixing thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and add salt (not more soy sauce) if needed.
Step Three: Add the scallions and sesame seeds as a garnish. Enjoy!
Tips for cooking the best Hibachi Fried Rice
- ALWAYS BREAK UP THE RICE, before adding to the wok. This ensures that the rice separates into individual grains without getting broken and that every grain gets a chance to get evenly toasted and coated with an equal amount of that glorious garlic butter.
- Have all the ingredients ready and close at hand before cooking. The cooking process itself just takes about 5-10 minutes and requires constant mixing so there is no time to look or prepare an ingredient.
- Cook on a blazing hot wok. The wok needs to be smoking hot before adding the first drop of oil. Think about it as searing not frying and definitely not steaming.
- For large amounts, cook in batches. According to J. Kenji Lopez Alt, the best way to cool a large amount of fried rice is in batches. As each batch is done, transfer to a bowl so that you can maintain toasting quality and flavor. Once done, add it all together in the wok and mix thoroughly.
- If you need more seasoning add salt not soy sauce. Soy sauce adds moisture which leads to clumpy rice and can overwhelm the other subtle flavors.
- Half scramble your eggs before cooking fried rice to maximize flavor and ovoid overcooking them. If you want the perfect harmony of perfectly flavored eggs, you need to half scramble your eggs and add the remaining ingredients while the eggs are still a little wet. While taste of course is very subjective, I feel that if you add scrambled eggs to the cooked fried rice after the cooking process , the eggs don’t absorb any flavor.
- For that authentic taste make the garlic butter! While there is nothing wrong with sautéing some minced garlic with butter you wont get that special Benihana Fried Rice taste. This garlic butter recipe is hands down one of the tastiest combinations of flavors that I have had in a long time! That being said, if you want to make some really fantastic fried rice and need to skip the garlic butter step please try my Ultimate Restaurant Style Chicken Fried Rice recipe. Through a combination of a quick chicken marinade and s fingerlicking sauce combination you will have all the tips you need to know about making the most EPIC fried rice!
Best way to cook rice for Hibachi Fried Rice Recipe - Benihana Copycat
For optimal result, cook rice for fried rice using the following steps:
Step One: Rinse the rice. The extra starch in raw rice, causes rice to clump. A good rule of thumb is to rinse raw rice under cold water about three times while agitating vigorously or until the rinse water is clear.
Step Two: Cook the rice. For most types of rice the ratio of rice to water is about 1 cup rice to 2 cups of water (check the rice package). First bring the water to boil. Then stir in the rice. For added flavor, add a little salt.. Once you add the rice, the water will stop boiling. Cover the pot once the the water heats up to a gentle simmer and reduce the heat to low. At this point do not open the cover to check since the steam is actually cooking the rice. Set a timer to 15 minutes for white rice or 30 minutes for brown rice. Quickly check if the rice is tender - there should be no hard grain in the middle. If it needs a few more minutes, put the lid back on again. Allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes with the lid on.
Step Three: Fluff the rice with a fork, then spread out to cool in a baking sheet, preferably under a fan.
Step Four: Once the rice has cooled to room temperature, scoop it into an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to use. While using at least day old rice is optimal for fried rice, at this point, you can also use the cooled rice to make very good fried rice.
This delicious Japanese inspired dish is typically served with hibachi grill dishes like steak, shrimp, lobster, chicken and vegetables. Many also order Benihana's famous Yum Yum Sauce, the Benihana Ginger Sauce and lots of Garlic Butter on the side.
Personally I love eating this Hibachi Fried Rice Recipe - Benihana Copycat on its own .. However the dish also works really well as a side to other Indo-Chinese inspired dishes like Chicken Manchurian and almost anything Chinese or Thai. Hibachi fried rice goes extremely well with Stir Fried Beef with Red Onions and Peppers and Branzino in Tomato-Olive Sauce.
I love drizzling a little Nuoc Cham – Vietnam’s famous dipping sauce over my fried rice. I love having Shemai – Creamy Vermicelli in Sweet Rose Infused Cream or Mini Blueberry Pies asdessert after eating this dish.
Hibachi in Japanese, literally means "fire bowl" which refers to a traditional cooking device where a heatproof container is used to hold hot, burning coal. In the U.S., hibachi is typically used to refer to a cooking style where meat, vegetables and seafood are cooked on a very hot metal plate. Hibachi grills can be built into furniture and thus, many Hibachi restaurants have grills which are the size of a table surrounded by seating for guests. In addition to the delicious food, the main attraction of hibachi dining is the entertainment. While cooking, a specially trained hibachi chef demonstrates amazing skills like tossing food into plates and exciting knife skills.
Teppanyaki is a style of cooking where food is grilled over a very hot metal plate which is heated by a propane flame. In Japanese, Teppan means "iron plate" and yaki means "grilled". While the origin of the teppanyaki grill is unclear, many believe that the grill was introduced by a Japanese chef in the U.S.
In the U.S, hibachi and teppanyaki is often used interchangeably. Hibachi is a style of cooking where food is grilled over a small portable grill, filled with hot charcoal or wood. Teppanyaki refers to a type of table top grill which was introduced by Japanese chefs in the U.S., where food is prepared in front of guests. The traditional hibachi grills used charcoal or wood as a cooking source which teppanyaki uses propane flame as a heat source. Benihana, is a famous restaurant chain in the US where guests are entertained by skilled chefs demonstrating knife skills and other feats while cooking delicious hibachi style food on a teppanyaki grill.
To make whipped butter, beat 1 cup of plain, unsalted, room temperature butter with 3 tablespoons of milk.
Store garlic butter in an airtight container in the fridge. It should last about 2 weeks in the fridge.TO freeze garlic butter, put it in a freezer bag or airtight container and label with the date. Frozen butter can last in the freezer for about 3 months.
Sometimes when garlic butter is stored in the fridge it can look a little grainy. This can be easily fixed by whipping the garlic butter again. If the garlic butter is still not smooth, add a little room temperature butter (about 1-2 teaspoons per 4 ounces of garlic butter) and whip again.
Hibachi fried rice is typically made with Calrose rice, which is a medium grain rice. Once cooked, the rice tends to become a little soft and sticky which makes it very easy to absorb flavors. In comparison Chinese Fried Rice is typically made with long grain or medium grain rice like jasmine and basmati which cooks up fluffy but not sticky. The grains remain firm and distinct and the sauce coats the rice instead of being absorbed into it.
To use freshly cooked rice for fried rice, spread the rice on a baking sheet while its still hot. Once cool and the surface moisture evaporates, you can begin the cooking the fried rice. For optimal results use day old rice which has been cooled, then stored in an airtight container in the fridge for at least one day.
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Finally, if you make this recipe...
I’d love to hear how it went – please leave a comment and rate this recipe. Above all, I love hearing from all of you and will do my best to answer each and every comment!
Hibachi Fried Rice Recipe - Benihana Copycat
Benihana's Garlic Butter
- 5 heads garlic sliced in half
- 8 oz whipped butter
- 4 tablespoon soy sauce all purpose
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- ¼ teaspoon lemon juice optional
Hibachi Fried Rice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil preferably safflower oil
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 cup chicken breast thinly sliced into small pieces
- 2 cups peas and carrots
- 5 cups cooked rice preferably one day old, cold, no clumps
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish
- 2 scallion sliced, for garnish
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Benihana's Garlic Butter
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut about a third off the top of 5 heads of garlic. Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.
- Bake the garlic for about 30 minutes or until they are soft inside.
- Press the garlic cloves into a medium bowl and mash. Wait for the mashed garlic to cool.
- Add about two tablespoons of butter to the cooled mashed garlic. Beat until fully combined. Add the remaining butter in half cup portions and continue mixing until all the butter has been added.
- Add the freshly ground black pepper, soy sauce and lemon juice and mix well. Store in an airtight container - I usually just store it in the whipped butter container. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Hibachi Fried Rice
- Heat a large skillet (preferably a cast iron pan) or wok for at least 5 minutes until it is smoking hot. Using a wok or cast iron skillet is really important to mimic the high heat cooking temperature of a Japanese steakhouse or hibachi restaurant. This recipe does not work on medium heat.
- Add the oil and scramble the eggs. Push the eggs to one side. While the eggs are still runny, add the chicken and saute until golden brown (about 80% cooked). Add the carrots and onion and sauté continuously until the onions are transparent - about 2-3 minutes. Add half the cold rice and mix well. Then repeat with the remaining rice.. Be sure to break down any clumps. Add lots of garlic butter, the soy sauce and a little sesame oil. Sauté while mixing thoroughly. Taste for seasoning. Add the scallions and sesame seeds as a garnish. Enjoy!
- This recipe yields approximately 6 servings. The nutrition information has been calculated using an online recipe nutrition calculator and is intended for informational purposes only and should be used as a general guideline. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should independently verify it using your preferred tool.