Crispy rice and stir-fried veggies are seasoned up with sake-soy sauce and served with smoky tofu bacon to make this scrumptious vegan Japanese fried rice!
Back when I was in my early twenties I had my first hibachi grill dining experience, while on vacation with my family. It sounded like such a great idea. Japanese food! There’d be tons of stuff I could eat! It didn’t really work out that way though. The chef would start on something I’d totally want to eat, and then dive into it with a spatula that had just been in chicken. Or throw an egg in the mix. Or something that made everyone around the table cringe and then send pitiful looks my way. I’m sure most of the veggie burgers I ate back then had been grilled on the same surface as a hamburger or something, but somehow seeing it just takes away the magic.
So, I made my own vegan hibachi food! And oh my god it’s SO GOOD!
I’m all about the Asian eats lately, aren’t I? Well, this recipe was meant to be posted some time next month, but like I said, this stuff is mighty tasty. I got so excited I had to post it today. You’re going to love this… it’s buttery, savory, a little earthy and boozy from the sake, delicious all around.
Also, you have to make this for your Valentine’s Day date. You don’t want to go out to one of those hibachi grills. They’re always so loud, and shouting sweet nothings in each other’s ears is not romantic. Also, you’ll get all bummed when they throw an egg in your fried rice, and you’ll end up ordering sushi anyway. Make this at home.
This is pretty indulgent, and a little more involved than my normal fried rice. I used margarine instead of oil. There’s some sake in there. There’s tofu bacon that gets baked and then pan fried, because that gives it a perfect crispy coating that jives beautifully with fried rice. You could take shortcuts or make substitutions, but please don’t do that. Trust me. You and your date will thank me.
Hibachi Style Japanese Fried Rice
For the Tofu Bacon
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1/2 lb. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- vegan margarine or oil
For the Japanese Fried Rice
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. vegan sake
- 2 tbsp. vegan margarine
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 3 scallions, white and green parts separated, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large or 2 small carrots, chopped
- 1 cup snow peas
- 4 cups leftover rice, chilled (jasmine rice works great)
- 2 tsp. sesame seeds, plus extra for serving
- sriracha sauce, for serving (optional)
Make the Tofu Bacon
Stir soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup and liquid smoke together in a small bowl. Add tofu and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally to recoat.
Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment. Arrange tofu cubes on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
Coat the bottom of a large skillet lightly with margarine or oil and place over medium-high heat. Add tofu cubes and cook about 5 minutes, flipping once to get some crisping on multiple sides. Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate. Leave the skillet on the stove.
Make the Japanese Fried Rice
Stir soy sauce and sake together in a small bowl.
Place margarine and sesame oil into skillet and lower heat to medium. Melt the margarine completely and add garlic and white parts of scallions. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Raise heat to high and add carrots and snow peas. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add rice and soy sauce mixture. Cook, flipping frequently, until rice dries up and begins to crisp in spots, about 5 minutes. Add green parts of scallions, sesame seeds and tofu bacon. Flip a few more times to incorporate. Remove from heat.
Divide onto plates and serve.
Loosely adapted from Martha Stewart's Japanese Fried Rice.