All About Teppanyaki
THE HISTORY OF TEPPANYAKI
Teppanyaki means, quite literally, broiled on a steel grill, which is the definition of teppanyaki-style cooking in its most simple form. However exactly when teppanyaki-style first came into use is a bit more complicated.
Some believe the tradition began over 200 years ago when families would prepare food together on small grills. Others believe it began in the early 1900’s with chefs introducing the style, along with their intricate knife skills, to diners.
Regardless of which story is true, teppanyaki has evolved greatly over the last hundred years, moving from food that was simply “broiled on a steel grill” to something of an art form. An art form Benihana first introduced to America in 1964.
Today, teppanyaki chefs are performers as well as skilled cooks, delighting diners daily with mouthwatering flavors and jaw-dropping knife skills.
All About Sushi
TYPES OF SUSHI & SASHIMI
When most people think of sushi, the first thing they think of is raw fish. However, sushi actually gets its name from the seasoned rice that accompanies the fish. So many types of sushi are made with cooked ingredients, like barbecued eel (unagi) or Japanese omelets (tamagoyak). Sashimi, on the other hand, is always made with fresh, raw meat and fish, elegantly sliced and served with a variety of colorful garnishes.
Popular types of sushi include:
Maki-zushi or Norimaki : Rolled sushi. Made by rolling fish, vegetables and rice into a sheet of dried nori, using a bamboo mat, then cutting it into bite-sized pieces.
Te-maki : “Hand roll” style sushi. Made by rolling rice and other ingredients with nori to form a cone shape that’s easy to pick up and eat with your hands.
Hako-zushi : Sushi pressed in a box, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
Inari-zushi : Deep-fried tofu pockets stuffed with seasoned rice.
Nare-zushi : Traditional fermented sushi, where the fish is fermented over a period of days.
THE HISTORY OF SUSHI
Making sushi is a tradition that goes back over 1,000 years. Originally developed as a way to preserve fish, it’s evolved from a convenient necessity to a subtle art form.
The first sushi involved pressing raw fish between a mixture of rice and salt. This pickling process took about two months, and afterward the rice was simply thrown out. It wasn’t until the 15th century that rice became an integral part of the dish because it was just too valuable to waste.
But sushi as we know it today didn’t truly arrive until 1824, when Yohei Hanaya started selling raw slices of seafood on beds of rice in his Edo food stall. The trend caught on, and soon stalls all over Edo (which would eventually become Tokyo) were selling sushi.
It was only after World War II that the modern sushi boom hit a snag. Banned by the Allies due to sanitary concerns, the stalls started to disappear, eventually giving way to the counter-style sushi restaurants we see today.
All About Sake
TYPES OF SAKE
Sake is often referred to as rice wine. Although, it’s technically not a wine at all because it’s not made from grapes. It actually has more in common with beer, which is also brewed from fermented grains. Most sake is clear in color and contains about 16% alcohol. Also like both beer and wine, it can have very unique flavor profiles depending on the ingredients and the brewing process.
Popular types of sake include:
Ginjo-shu : Special-brew sake with a delicate, light-bodied flavor. Typically served chilled or at room temperature.
Nigori-sake : Cloudy sake with a creamy, sweet taste.
THE HISTORY OF SAKE
According to Shinto legend, sake comes from the gods themselves. It’s said that Susanoo, the god of sea and storm, used sake to subdue an eight-headed serpent terrorizing Izumo. The beast drank eight tubs full of sake before passing out and falling prey to Susanoo’s sword.
The more likely, and far less heroic, origin of sake dates back to the fourth century, when rice was chewed at religious festivals, then spit into containers to ferment. Thankfully, sake has evolved quite a bit since then.
More sophisticated brewing techniques arrived from China in the seventh century, allowing sake to be refined into a clear liquid. And, thus, greatly increased the drink’s popularity.
During the Meiji period (1868-1912), further advances in the brewing process made it possible to mass produce sake for the first time. And today, there are over 10,000 sake brands on the market.