Grilling in Japan: From Fire To Pan

Understanding Grilling without The Fire

When in Japan, it is not difficult to find a Yakitori shop or cart, a space that specialize in grilled chicken served on skewers, a truly grilled meal, cooked over a hot, direct fire. Then comes along the invention of the large, heated metal plate, and fire was no more.

You find this in bars, food courts and fancy restaurants where they cook your food at your table even. Many of the world’s greatest recipes have been taken off the fire and put on this large gas burner heated metal plate. It’s fast, safe, convenient and easy. But it does nothing for the flavor.

If these great dishes, such as beef sukiyaki, were to be grilled over an open fire, the way they were meant to be cooked, you can bring back the authentic flavors. Beef sukiyaki is grilled steak cut into thin strips and grilled with vegetables tossed in to complete the meal. Most Japanese dishes start this way, with thin strips of meat, whether it’s beef, chicken or anything else.

What is the secret to great Japanese food?

The key ingredients are the meats, seafood, and vegetables, and not the sauces and coatings that drip over them. Any sauce, spice mixture, marinade or seasoning is meant to enhance the flavor of foods, not overpower them.

For example, if you want to make beef teriyaki, start with a good steak, lightly marinade it in a thin teriyaki sauce then cook it on a hot grill, occasionally brushing with the marinade. When done, you serve it with a small amount of teriyaki sauce on the side, not pour it over the meat.

If you are familiar with true Japanese cooking, you’ll find many foods have grilled origins. The Japanese developed Hibachi grills and charcoal hundreds of years ago for the express purpose of grilling food. Today, to satisfy people’s desire for a quick lunch or dinner, we’ve got the stovetop solution – grilling on hot plates instead. However that fire can generally lend flavor to food, many chefs still can come out with flavorful dishes even on the hot plate. The Japanese can be true adaptors and, with honed skills, are food craftsmen beyond compare.

Grilling With Flavors in Issaquah

Come dine at AJI Sushi & Grill, your Japanese restaurant in Issaquah. Taste our grilled flavors in a cozy, trendy spot. Have a proper Japanese-style dining experience with the kind of work ethic and respect that goes with centuries of Japanese tradition.