In Japan a hibachi is a traditional ‘fire bowl’ used for cooking meat, fish and vegetables over coals. The container is traditionally round or square and beautifully decorated, with a chamber for coals and insulated materials to reduce heat transferring to the outside. In the 1940s Japanese chefs introduced the first modern hibachi restaurant where chefs used tabletop hibachis to prepare food as entertainment as well as added flavour. Sitting around a table and cooking your own food exactly as you would like it is also a wonderful way to entertain. We made our hibachi very easily with ceramic containers and used some hard wood to cook everything from vegetables to meat and seafood. This is how we did it.
What you need:
- 2 x ceramic containers. One needs to be large, and the second must be smaller to fit inside with enough space for about 30mm of space between them. We used these great glazed pots because the look so good, but any ceramic garden pots will do.
- 1 bag river sand
- A grid to fit the top of the large container. We found different grids from a kitchen shop and used them all, a fine grid basket for delicate foods and a straight forward grill for the larger, more robust items
- A dowel stick or cork to fit the drainage hole of your container to seal it.
- Volcanic pebble mulch – this is optional
What you do:
1. Plug any drainage holes in the pots with a piece of dowel or cork.
2. Cover the bottom of the larger container with a layer of sand. Place the smaller pot onto the sand and adjust so that the rims of the pots are level with each other.
3. Fill the gap between the pots with sand and top with pebble mulch.
4. Make a fire in a fire starter using hard wood, which burns hotter and lasts longer, as a base.
5. When the coals are ready, place them on a layer of sand in the smaller container. Top with the grid and you are ready to cook.