How to Make Fried Rice That Tastes Like It Came From Benihana

Fried rice is a go-to dish in our kitchen. It's fast and easy and infinitely customizable. It's a great way to use up any leftover protein or veggies you have lying around and is a real crowd pleaser. But no matter what we do, we've noticed that the fried rice that we make at home doesn't come close to what we get at Benihana or our local Japanese hibachi restaurant.

Although we suspect part of the magic comes down to having professional-grade equipment, luckily YouTube food  personality Jason Farmer has made his Benihana-style fried rice "hundreds of times" and is willing to share his secrets with us. With just a few tweaks here and there your next batch of fried rice can be restaurant-worthy too. Here's what you need to know.

Related: How to Make Pancakes That Taste Like They Came From IHOP

How to Make Fried Rice Taste Like It Came From Benihana

The video above will take you through the recipe in great detail, but these notes will help you focus in on the most important bits.

Use the right rice. Benihana restaurants use Calrose rice, a specific type of medium-grain rice from California. The restaurant uses the Botan brand of Calrose rice, but you can use any brand you can find. If you can't find Calrose rice, other rice varieties, like jasmine rice, will also work, but you won't get the true Benihana experience.

Cook your rice—then let it rest. Rinse your rice before cooking (preferably in a rice cooker) and then spread the cooked rice on a baking sheet, breaking up any large clumps. Let it sit uncovered in the fridge for at least 24 hours. If you have day-old rice, it's perfect for using in this recipe. When you're ready to cook, let the rice come to room temperature before beginning.

Make this butter. One of the keys to Benihana's delicious fried rice is their hibachi garlic butter. To make it, stir together 2 tablespoons unsalted room-temperature butter, ½ teaspoon minced garlic and ½ teaspoon Kikkoman soy sauce. Stir until no liquid remains in the bottom of the bowl and then set the butter aside.

Choose the right oil. You need oil for fried rice, but you don't want the flavor of the oil to get in the way of the rice, veggies and other mix-ins. A neutral oil, such as safflower oil, is great for fried rice. Another vegetable or canola oil will also work.

Use your knife skills. For something like fried rice, you want all of your veggies to be finely and evenly diced to make sure everything cooks at the same rate. Take your time and channel your inner chef.

Spread things out. If you watch the recipe video, it will take you through cooking the chicken (if you choose to use it), eggs and veggies, but once you add the rice give it some room. Make sure to spread the rice out as much as possible, breaking up the big clumps and making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding the pan will cause the rice to steam instead of fry.

Butter up. After the rice has cooked for 2 minutes, return the cooked ingredients back to the pan and stir everything together, making sure to break up any large clumps of rice. Stir in 1 tablespoon of hibachi garlic butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to stir until the butter has completely coated everything, about 1 minute.

Make room for soy sauce. Push the rice to one side of the pan, leaving an empty space on the other side. Pour the soy sauce directly into the pan, but not on top of the rice. This allows the soy sauce to caramelize and gives the dish more depth of flavor. After adding the soy sauce, immediately stir the rice into it and continue to do so with a cutting motion until all the rice is seasoned and no white spots remain.

Up next: The Secret Ingredient for Making Jarred Pasta Sauce Taste Like It Came From an Italian Restaurant