Teppanyaki food, which is an area of Japanese cuisine, and teppanyaki cooking are introduced here.
Teppanyaki (teppan: iron plate, yaki: to grill) is a cooking method of food. It may also mean a restaurant which serves foods cooked by using an iron plate or mean the food itself.
In Japan, when food were grilled, it had been general to heat with burning charcoal in a brazier such as shichirin (earthen charcoal brazier for cooking) until the beginning of the Showa period. Before gas stoves became popular, it had not been efficient to heat up an iron plate to the temperature suitable for cocking in a home and also iron was expensive. It is said that the cocking with an iron plate has been getting popular since foods cocked with a junk iron plate were served at the black market or at a food stall right after the war. Present day, teppanyaki has become enjoyable at home as electric hot plates became popular, but the heating power of electric plates is not comparable with that of restaurants. And also from the history above, teppanyaki is positioned mainly as dining out, food of camping, or food of festival.
"Teppanyaki" is also popular overseas as Japanese cuisine. That is because Japanese restaurant chains such as Benihana (from 1964, New York) and SHOGUN have been serving teppanyaki foods. The serving manner, in which a culinarian cooks steak and others on the teppan and serves them to the customer across the counter, was originated in 1945, getting idea from sushi restaurants by a stake restaurant Misono founded in Kobe. As the service of this teppanyaki stake restaurant which includes the dazzling performance is favored by foreigners rather than Japanese, Misono has been a famous sight seeing place for the foreigners visiting Japan. Performances beyond the category of cooking such as to pile up round slices of onion like Mt. Fuji and burn them to give white smoke or to juggle cooking utensils being fired up, at teppanyaki restaurants in the North America, are known.
Thickness of teppan
The optimum thickness depends on what type of cocking you do. For example, thicker plates are preferred for cooking for which constant temperature is needed such as okonomiyaki (savory pancake with various ingredients). On the other hand, thinner plates are preferred for camping because of reasons such as portability.
Heating of empty plate
This is also a practice which should be done at the first time the plate is used. The purpose is to remove machinery oil or fat by burning out. After that, the plate should be washed, heated again to remove water, then well-greased with oil such as salad oil.
In general case such as at okonomiyaki shops, plates are only washed, but at stake houses, plates are polished with abrasive once a day. After polished with abrasive, plates shall be greased with oil such as salad oil to protect from rusting.