In a Japanese kitchen, often there is a built-in fish broiler right under the fireplace in the gas cooker.
The size of the broiler is quite small. It is usually only a little bit bigger than a shoe box. If you look at the pictures below, you can see the drawer with the glass window in the middle part of the gas cooker (Picture 1 & 2). It has just enough space to fit three or four small size fish (Picture 3).
The broiler in Picture 1 is the original type. It has simple and minimum functions. The newer version is in Picture 2. It is digitally controlled so it might be more complicated to set up but once it is done there are more useful functions to help you cook more easily.
Foreigners often do not know how to use a broiler at first. However, once you get to know about it, you can cook a wide variety of foods quickly and easily because the inside temperatures can go up to around 300°C (570°F). The high temperatures mean that outside of the food become crispy but the inside of food becomes tender and juicy. You can also place an iron grill pan or a tray on the original grid to suit your food type. If you get used to your broiler, it will be much easier and quicker to prepare food.
How to switch on and heat
It is not so difficult to use. Firstly you just press down the knob for a few seconds to ignite the stove. When the stove has ignited, twist the knob to the right heat strength. That is all.
It is called ‘fish broiler’ or ‘fish grill’ between Japanese people. However, people cook a much wider variety of foods than just fish. You can cook so many things like toast, sausages, vegetables, pizza, French fries, chicken (grilling instead of frying as a healthier option), fillet of fish and vegetables steamed in a foil packet, meats, cakes, bread, puddings, pies and leftover fried foods. You do not have to buy expensive pans and trays especially for this. You can use aluminum foil instead.
Tips to cook
- Pre-heat the broiler for around five minutes.
- For some types of a fish broiler, you need to fill the tray with water before cooking the food.
- Stay watching the food from the glass window while cooking to avoid burning it until you know the grill well.
- Take out the cooked food immediately after switching off to cool down and to prevent the food from taking in the inside smell.
- Put a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of the grill tray to catch the drippings from the food.
- Mix bicarbonate of soda or potato starch into the water for the tray to make it easier to clean the tray later.
Japanese kitchens often have small space so people use the broiler as a substitute for many other kitchen appliances like a toaster, an oven grill, a microwave oven and a conventional oven. There are so many free recipes available online or you can create your own recipes.
The three different styles of fish broilers in range – what to purchase
There are three different styles of fish broilers available to purchase in the market.
- Products in bottom range
Gas burners only on the top-side
You need to fill some water in the tray under the grill before you use it.
- It is easier to take fish clearly off the grill when it is cooked because the steam from the water underneath prevents food from sticking to the grill.
- It is cost effective. Mostly they are the cheapest range in the market.
- It could take some time to get ready to use because this range might need extra preparations like applying some oil on the grill before putting any food to avoid sticking.
- It might not be easy to clean afterward because carefully you have to take the broiler out to drain dirty water without spilling it.
- You need to turn over the food to grill both sides evenly
- The fish or food might fall apart when you are flipping the fish or food to the other side.
- It takes a longer time to grill food than the other types.
- Products in middle range
Broilers with a gas burner only on the top side but no need to fill the tray with water before you use it.
- It is easier to cleanly remove food from the grill when it is cooked.
- It has fewer jobs because you do not need to put water in the tray before you use it or drain it after you use.
- The food might fall apart when you are flipping the food to the other side.
- It takes a longer time to cook.
- Products in top range
Broilers with gas burners on both the top and the bottom, no need to fill the tray with water before you use it.
- The duration of cooking is half long as the others.
- No need to turn food over.
- It is more likely that the food will get stuck to the grill.
- It is more expensive than the other ranges.
You might want to consider which to buy depending on what you use it for and how often you will use it.
Two Gas providers
There are two different gas providers in Japan. One is LP Gas(LPG) and the other one is Toshi Gas(LNG). The gas connector nozzle is different depending on which gas supplier you have so make sure you buy a gas cooker which has a connector suitable your gas company.
Even if you do not have an oven or a microwave, you can still cook most recipes with this broiler. That means you will enjoy cooking without the frustration of not having a conventional oven at home.
If you have any question, team Guidable is ready!