If you are into garlic butter, you will undoubtedly love Benihana garlic butter sauce. For the uninitiated, Benihana is a Japanese restaurant chain, and this special sauce they have developed is an absolute culinary delight. If you would like to know how to make it yourself, you are in precisely the right place. All you have to do is read on.
Eating out is one of the great pleasures of life, made even better when you go to a restaurant that likes to present and serve its food with a bit of theatrical flair – as they do at the chef’s table Benihaha.
If you have never seen a Japanese chef strutting his or her stuff by flipping cuts of meat and rice into the air as they cook your meal on a sizzling Teppanyaki grill, it’s a sight to behold.
I have to admit – I am hooked. I’ve lost count of the times I have dined out at a Benihana. They have 116 restaurants spread out across the US, so the chances are that you might well find one near to where you live.
They make a great stopping-off place on the way home from work. Sipping a lovely, cold exotic cocktail served in a tiki mug is a great way to unwind after a tough day at the office, especially when you don’t relish having to cook when you get home.
But for those occasions when you are hosting a dinner party at home, or you’ve invited a few friends around for an informal meal, the Benihana garlic butter recipe is a great way of adding that extra to take your food to the next level. It’s quick and easy to make, and you use ingredients that you probably have at home anyway. It so simple you might even add it when you’re cooking for just you.
Butter and garlic are two great-tasting ingredients anyway, but when you combine them, it turns an ordinary plate of food into something special.
If you have never tasted garlic butter before, you don’t know what you are missing. A visit to a Benihana can change all that. Their take on garlic butter is what is one of the reasons that their chain is so popular with foodies all over America.
The food they serve at Benihana places them above most other restaurants. People who go there for the first time are sure to return again and again.
If you want to learn how to make Japanese garlic butter, I am about to reveal to you, including the recipe itself and some of the dishes it works with perfectly.
Okay, I have been waxing lyrical about Benihana, and if the name is new to you, you are probably wondering why I regard them so highly. In my estimation, thanks to its unique take on Japanese cuisine, it has to be one of the best teppanyaki chains in America.
What, you may ask, is teppanyaki? It is the name given to a type of Japanese cooking where the chef makes the meal on a large skillet directly in front of the customer. It is fascinating to watch.
It’s a bit like watching a good bartender in a cocktail bar, doing their juggling act, but instead of drinks and flasks, it’s a chef and a skillet with the chef performing cabaret before your very eyes.
It is not the sort of thing you come across very often, unless, of course, like me, you are a Benihana regular. The only slight downside of this style of cooking is that because of your closeness to the skillet, you can get quite hot, so be sure to dress lightly. But, believe me. It is well worth it.
Right, now you know what teppanyaki is, let us press on with the garlic butter recipe. If you are up against time, you might be able to buy it from your local store or supermarket. However, if you do have the ingredients at home, it’s a lot faster to make than it would be to go out and buy it. Plus, it’s way more fun, too.
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Best use for Benihana garlic butter
Before we get into the recipe for Benihana garlic butter, let’s take a quick look at how you can use it. It goes beautifully with fried rice. Yes, fried rice is already a tasty dish, but it becomes a phenomenal one with a little garlic butter.
Once you know how to make this special garlic butter sauce, adding it to Benihana fried rice (click the link to check my recipe) will become one of your favorites.
To try this, you need some bean sprouts, green onion, cooked rice, and some garlic butter. If you want the deluxe version, add some beef, shrimp, and egg. Yum!
Another quick, tasty treat is garlic bread. Just take any old loaf of bread or baguette, slice it, spread on some garlic butter, and have an instant, delicious snack.
Take it to the next level, flash it under the grill or put it in a warm oven so that the butter melts and soaks into the bread. Heavenly!
There is no doubt about it. A little garlic butter can transform any meal or snack in seconds.
Garlic fried rice or bread are just two of my favorites. I have many more besides. For you, the reader, you will have your preferences. You might like to add it to grilled steak or melt it into a plate of veggies. We all have our own individual tastes.
How to Make Benihana Garlic Butter
Now that you are champing at a bit, let’s get down to how to make Benihana garlic butter at home.
Get these ingredients
- 8 oz of whipped butter (unsalted)
- Soy sauce – 2 oz
- 5 bulbs of garlic (roasted)
- lemon juice (optional)
Points to note
As far as the butter you use, you can buy any brand, though I suggest that you go for top quality if you want to get close to the garlic butter sauce they serve at Benihana. Unless you have a salt fetish, I will stick with unsalted butter. The salted variety will change the taste of the final product.
Lemon juice gives the butter a hint of acidity, and it works perfectly with shrimp. Be careful, though, for if you go overboard and add too much, it will overpower the butter’s flavor. I find that two tablespoons are right for my palate, and it complements the garlic perfectly.
Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. It makes all the difference, especially when you squeeze it and add it immediately.
Here is a small tip to help with squeezing lemon juice.
Before you cut the lemon, roll it on a hard, firm surface, applying pressure as you do so. It loosens the juice and makes it much easier to extract when you cut the lemon and squeeze it.
Don’t buy lemons pre-packed in cartons. I find that they often have a sweeter taste, which mars the flavor of good whipped garlic butter.
Unsalted butter has a little salt in it, but we all realize that salt is great at bringing flavor out. The soy sauce gives that salt hit together with umami, which gives the butter that extra dimension.
You cannot have an Asian dish without at least a little soy sauce. You can use either light or dark soy. The light soy sauce is lighter in flavor, while the dark is a little richer – your choice.
When you buy the garlic, pick the freshest bulb you can. You test it for freshness by gently squeezing it. If it is hard and ungiving, it means it is fresh. It loses its firmness as it ages. You also need to choose bulbs that still have the skin intact for better flavor.
When some people make Benihana garlic butter, they use toasted garlic, as they like the toasted taste that it imparts. Others use mashed garlic for an intensified garlic flavor. As everyone has different tastes, I suggest that you experiment with both to see which you prefer.
Now all the ingredients have been gone over, let’s turn our attention to the equipment you will need to make the butter. It’s pretty straightforward. You’ll want:
- A bowl
- A spatula
- A container
As far as a bowl is concerned, you need one that is big enough to take all of the ingredients and give you a little room for work.
You can use any type of bowl, but I recommend using a ceramic or a stainless steel one. If you use a plastic bowl, you may find its surface a little more difficult to clean after having butter worked in it. Whatever sort of bowl you use it won’t affect the taste, it’s just ease of cleaning.
Spatulas are convenient kitchen tools when it comes to mixing ingredients. They make it easier to scrape any mixture off the sides of the bowl and return it to the main batch. Small, plastic spatulas are best as they are easier to manipulate and are very efficient for the job.
Will you be using all of the garlic butter you make immediately? If not, and you will store some for later use, have an airtight container standing by.
Being airtight is important for two reasons.
- One is that you don’t want to lose any of the butter’s flavor.
- Don’t want to taint any other foods that might be stored in the same fridge.
Now for the actual process.
Step by step instructions
Begin with getting the ingredients and equipment mentioned above assembled. Make sure that the tools you will be using are all spotlessly clean. Ensure that none of them have any water on them.
The most effective way of doing this is to clean them using dish soap. Once they are satisfactorily clean, rinse them with lots of water and dry them thoroughly with a cloth.
Clean the lemon (in case you’re using it) and set it aside together with the garlic in a dish. Whether you are using whipped butter from the fridge or having just bought it from your local store, it is not likely to be at room temperature.
It will make it more difficult to work with, so to make it softer, leave it out in the room for about 30 minutes.
Have no fear. Thirty minutes are not enough to allow the butter to go rancid, so this is not a concern.
If, however, the butter is really cold and needs longer at room temperature, you can always get around this by heating it gently in the microwave for a few seconds only.
While the butter is softening at room temperature, you can begin to squeeze the lemon juice and prep the garlic bulbs.
Some people like big pieces of garlic in their food; others like tiny pieces, and some people prefer it reduced to mush using a garlic press.
Then some prefer their garlic toasted. I must admit that toasted garlic tastes sublime ( I used roasted garlic for this recipe and the taste is amazing).
Toasting garlic. It’s a bit of a misnomer. Toasted garlic isn’t toasted at all. All you do is to grab say five bulbs of garlic and place it in an oven at 350°F for 30 minutes. Then take it out and mash it with a fork.
Once the garlic bulbs are roasted, cut the tip for easy peeling. Squirt and squeeze into a container and continue doing the same process until each garlic clove is peeled.
Start smashing like mashed potatoes, turning them into a smooth paste.
Gradually add the room temperature whipped butter and combine them with a spatula by folding. This refers to continuously folding the ingredients gently toward the center of the bowl until they are evenly combined.
When the color of the mixture is the same throughout, you have got the proper consistency.
Continue to work the mixture is not necessary – in fact, it is not desirable as it can become too soft.
Crack some black pepper (you can adjust the amount according to your taste). Then, gradually add the soy sauce. Mix until the soy sauce is well incorporated.
At this point, you add the lemon juice (optional).
Once you have the desired even color and the right consistency, transfer the mixture into a glass container with a lid to seal the flavor.
Store your garlic butter in the fridge for up to three weeks if you don’t intend to use it straight away.
If you would like to store your garlic butter for longer, pop it into an airtight container, refrigerate it for up to a month, or even a little longer.
A great way of storing garlic butter is to roll it into a sausage shape and wrap it like a piece of candy. Then, whenever you want a piece, simply unwrap and cut off as much as you need.
Versatile Benihana garlic butter can be added to so many foods to pep up their flavor.
I use it on pork, steak, and chicken, and I even spread a little on pizza when the mood takes me.
It’s just four simple ingredients, but boy does it taste good when combined in the right proportions. Now you know how to make it, try for yourself and see.
Related rice recipes
Benihana Garlic Butter Recipe (Copycat)
- Oven for roasting garlic
- dish or bowl
- glass container
- 5 bulbs garlic
- 2 oz light soy sauce
- 8 oz whipped butter
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Take the butter out from the fridge and let it soften at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Prep the bulbs of garlic and toast them in the oven at 350°F for 3o minutes.
- Once the garlic bulbs are roasted, cut the tip for easy peeling. Squirt and squeeze into a container and continue doing the same process until each garlic clove is peeled. Start smashing like mashed potatoes, turning them into a smooth paste.
- Gradually add the room temperature whipped butter and combine them with a spatula by folding. This refers to continuously folding the ingredients gently toward the center of the bowl until they are evenly combined. When the color of the mixture is the same throughout, you have got the proper consistency.
- Crack some black pepper (you can adjust the amount according to your taste). Then, gradually add the soy sauce. Mix until the soy sauce is well incorporated. At this point, you add the lemon juice (optional).
- Once you have the desired even color and the right consistency, transfer the mixture into a glass container with a lid to seal the flavor. Store your garlic butter in the fridge for up to three weeks if you don’t intend to use it straight away.
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Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.