teppan-yaki! (Magoo-San)

Recipe type: Main
  • see below
  1. Start with the meat. take a half pound to a pound of beef (rib cut steak, blade steak, etc.) and slice it across the grain into half centimetre slices. Shell and devein a half a pound to a pound of medium prawns (they should come about 20 to a pound). De-bone 4-8 chicken thighs, leaving the skin on, and cut each into 4 pieces.
  2. In a large bowl, mix a half cup of shoyu or tamari (both are Japanese soy sauces), 1-3 cloves garlic, finely grated or crushed, a quarter cup of mirin (or white wine + 1 tsp sugar), one finely chopped chili (birdseye work well for this) and a teaspoon of dark sesame oil. Add the beef, prawns and chicken and marinate for at least a half hour.
  3. Next, grab some veggies. Peel a large onion, and poke 8 toothpicks into it around the outside like spokes on a wheel. The idea is to be able to cut the onion into wedges that won't fall apart. If you prefer, cut the onion into wedges first and pin them back together with the toothpicks. Cut the stem off of a dozen plump shiitake mushrooms and score a small x in the cap. Remove the seeds and ribs from a red pepper and cut it into 10 or so pieces (chunks or strips your choice). Remove the tips from a handful of snow peas.
  4. In another large bowl, mix a tablespoon of mirin or white wine, a teaspoon of soy and a teaspoon of rice vinegar. Briefly dunk each mushroom cap and remove, then add the other vegetables and marinate (if you leave the mushroom caps in the marinade they'll just sponge it up).
  5. Prepare a quick dip from equal parts mirin and soy, and a half teaspoon each of grated garlic and gingerroot.
  6. Finally, fire up the grill. Charcoal works best for this, but gas is fine too. Just get it blisteringly hot.
  7. Remove meat and veg from their respective marinades and arrange them on a large plate. Provide either two sets of chopsticks per diner, or have some communal tongs available for putting food on the grill and taking it off. Diners pick whatever they wish to cook and eat, sort of like a dry fondue. A little sushi rice on the side isn't out of place, and if you're stuck for a side dish:
  8. Slice a few green onions into two inch lengths, then slice each piece a few times lengthwise. Peel a carrot, then continue to use the peeler to rip long thin strips off the carrot, and if needs be, cut these to two inch lengths. If you have a few snow peas left, cut them down the middle. Add a couple of handfuls of cleaned bean sprouts to this and mix it all up in a bowl. Then lay out a piece of tinfoil roughly a foot square for each guest, and divide the veg equally in little mounds on the tinfoil. Over each mound, sprinkle about a half teaspoon each of soy, mirin and vinegar, and add a dash of salt and some Japanese pepper (or cayenne, or even a pinch of black pepper). Fold the tinfoil around the vegetables to make a little packet, and fold over all edges to seal it up well. Throw these on the grill for about 3-6 minutes, and flip for another 3-6 minutes, and let diners peel the steamy packets open themselves.
  9. The only caveat to teppan-yaki is that it forces you to eat slowly. This means plenty of time for conversation, but it also means you're gonna ask afterward did we really eat all that??.