This Hibachi-style Japanese fried rice is flavorful, versatile, low-budget, and can be made in 15 minutes- for a fantastic weeknight meal option. Plus, this recipe is meat-free, egg-free, vegan, and gluten-free!
Japanese fried rice (aka ‘Yakimeshi’ or ‘Chahan’) is a simple, inexpensive, flavorful rice dish. It’s made up of leftover rice, seasonings, and your choice of veggies and protein. Traditionally, there is also egg added to the dish – though, of course, this vegan fried rice version omits that. Check the variation section below for a vegan egg version!
Similarly to my recently posted Spicy Sriracha Noodles, this Hibachi fried rice is another excellent recipe for using up leftovers and ‘whatever you have available for a truly versatile dinner option. I love to make this recipe mid-end of the week when I have leftover rice in the fridge and various veggies and tofu available that need to be used. In fact, this dish is MEANT to use leftover rice (pre-cooked and chilled) for the best results. So – yay for no rice wastage!
15-Minute Flavorful Japanese Garlic Fried Rice
If you’re wondering what makes this recipe ‘Japanese’? The main difference between Japanese and other Asian fried rice dishes (i.e., Thai, Chinese, Indian, etc.) is the type of rice used. For an authentic Japanese version, then short-grain rice is used. This gives the dish that slightly chewy, toothsome texture. Though you can use longer grained rice too for this recipe (I do that quite often actually).
The soy and garlic fried rice blend reminds me of lots of Teppanyaki/Hibachi-style Japanese style rice dishes that I’ve had previously in restaurants. Especially when combined with Umami-packed ingredients like mushrooms and fresh greens like edamame and spring onions.
What Is Hibachi Fried Rice?
Hibachi is a traditional Japanese cooking method using a heatproof round pot/container ‘Hibachi’ (literally translated to ‘fire bowl’) filled with burning charcoal and used to heat a stovetop. It is often associated with Japanese Teppanyaki restaurants, where dishes are cooked on a super-hot, large iron hot plate (in place of frying pans/pots/woks), usually table-side for guests to view.
Unfortunately, Teppanyaki restaurants (though amazing with their knife skills) aren’t usually very vegan-friendly. Neither is it easy to replicate their cooking methods from home (unless you happen to have a massive iron hot-plate- in which case, carry on!).
Luckily, this recipe brings you the flavor and comfort of a delicious restaurant-quality Hibachi-style Japanese fried rice, but 100% vegan, from home, using a simple frying pan/wok. It’s healthier than take-out (double yay!) too.
Note* This garlic rice recipe is also similar to a Filipino garlic fried rice dish called ‘Sinangág,’ using day-old rice and plenty of garlic.
How To Make Japanese Fried Rice?
Step One: Sauté the garlic
Heat oil in a wok or skillet and add the garlic—Fry over low to medium heat for about 60 seconds.
Step Two: Sauté the Vegetables
Add the finely chopped carrots and mushrooms, then cook for about 2-3 minutes. Next, stir in edamame, salt, and pepper, and cook for a further few minutes.
Step Three: Add the rice and seasonings
Add the cooked rice, tamari, and mirin (if using) and stir to combine and heat up. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve with baked tofu or tempeh. Enjoy!
You can optionally slice an additional garlic clove, lightly sauté it, and then use it to garnish the fried rice.
For the full ingredients list, ingredient measurements, and nutritional information, read the recipe card below.
How to Serve & Store
Serve as a side or main along with your favorite protein. Tofu fried rice is my fave- like with this Sticky Teriyaki Tofu.) You could also serve with some vegan Yum Yum Sauce.
Keep any garlic fried rice leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Useful Recipe Notes
- The Rice: If you cook the rice from fresh, then allow it to cool completely before adding it to the skillet. You’ll need 1 ½ cups of dry rice for this recipe, cooked according to the package instructions. For traditional Japanese fried rice, then use short-grain rice. However, you can use any rice – longer grain, brown, even cauliflower rice!
- Why use day-old/ leftover rice (pre-cooked and cooled): This improves the fried rice’s texture and consistency. While cooling and standing in the fridge, the short-grain rice becomes harder as liquid evaporates, leading to less ‘mushy’ fried rice.
- If you decide to use freshly cooked rice for this recipe, then rinsing it with cold water before frying can help with the texture.
- The Vegetables: I love using up whatever leftover veggies I have available. Options include peas, green beans, broccoli, leek, iceberg lettuce, onion, spinach, bok choy, eggplant, zucchini, etc. Don’t overcrowd the pan, though, or your rice can end up clumping more.
- Try to use finely chopped veggies with similar, short, cooking times. If they need longer to cook, then I recommend removing the garlic after the first 60-second sauté. Add it t back in later – otherwise, it can become bitter.
- If you want the fried egg texture in your vegan fried rice, you could use Scrambled Tofu with a little black salt for the eggy flavor. Fry it up first, remove it from the pan while you cook the remainder of the dish, and then incorporate it back in with a couple minutes left of cooking for a delicious egg tofu fried rice.
- The Oil: Use whatever oil you prefer. Sesame oil will add a more authentic Hibachi fried rice flavor (as well as garnishing with sesame seeds).
- The Spice: To add some spice/heat, you could add a little curry powder to the rice, cook with chili oil, or top with sliced red chilies.
- Add some vegan butter to the pan towards the end of cooking and mix it into the rice for richer results. Hibachi cooking often uses a combination of soy sauce and butter.
Related Healthy Asian Recipes & Other Vegan Rice Dishes
- Turmeric Rice with Coconut
- Djuvec Rice (One-Pot Vegetable Rice Recipe)
- Brown Rice Salad
- Vegan Mushroom Risotto
- Asian Vegetable Stir-Fry Noodles
- The Best Peanut Butter Noodles
- Creamy Vegan Ramen Noodles
If you give this vegan Japanese fried rice recipe a try, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing your recreations.
Japanese Fried Rice (Hibachi-Style)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 4-5 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 small carrots finely chopped
- 1 oz dried and rehydrated mushrooms finely chopped (or use 5 oz fresh)
- 1/2 cup (80 g) edamame (*see notes)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups (600 g) cooked rice (*see notes)
- 1 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp mirin (optional)
- Green onions or parsley to garnish
- Heat oil in a wok or skillet and add the garlic. Fry over low to medium heat for about 60 seconds, then add the finely chopped carrots and mushrooms.
- Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then stir in edamame, salt, and pepper, and cook for a further few minutes.
- Add cooked rice, tamari, and mirin (if using) and stir to combine. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve with baked tofu or tempeh. Drizzle with this Yum Yum Sauce and enjoy!
- It's best to use leftover rice (it can be a day old). You can use Japanese short-grain rice but any rice will be fine (even brown rice).
- If you use freshly cooked rice, make sure to let it cool completely before you add it to the skillet. You will need 1 1/2 cups (300 g) of dry rice for this recipe. Cook as per the directions on the packaging (cooking times will vary depending on which rice you use).
- Feel free to use other veggies of choice. You could use peas instead of edamame and add broccoli, etc. Other options include green beans, leek, onion, spinach, bok choy, zucchini, etc.
- Use finely chopped veggies that have a short cooking time. If using other veggies that have a longer cooking time, I would recommend frying the garlic for 60 seconds and then remove it from the skillet and add it later. Otherwise, it can become bitter.
- I sliced one additional garlic clove, fried it in a little oil, and garnished the rice with it. This step is optional.
- You could add Scrambled Tofu with a little black salt for the eggy flavor. Fry it up first, remove it from the pan while you cook the remainder of the dish, and then incorporate it back in with a couple of minutes left of cooking.
- Check out the blog post for more tips and variations and step-by-step photos.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
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