What to CookSaladsCondiments & Sauces

Benihana-Inspired Ginger Dressing Makes Even Watery Vegetables Whistle

12 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

Onion volcanoes! Flying shrimp! Acrobatic spatulas!

Behold, just some of the wonders of a show meal at Benihana—which, when the premiere location opened on New York's West 56th Street in 1964, was the U.S.'s first teppanyaki restaurant.

Advertisement

Much has been written about the chain, its founder (Hiroaki “Rocky” Aoki was an Olympic wrestler who admitted he only knew how to cook French toast), and the feud for his fortune.

But today I am focusing neither on the high stakes performance nor the historical significance and family drama. Instead, I'm thinking about salad dressing—the only dressing that could get the twelve-year-old me, an attendee of many a squealing Benihana birthday party, to lick my plate of watery lettuce clean.

The sharply-sweet ginger dressing took the greens from pre-meal throwaway—just a box to check off, really—to my favorite part of the experience. (Yes, better than the ignited onion stupa.)

Advertisement
Carrot-Ginger Dressing (Benihana Style)
Carrot-Ginger Dressing (Benihana Style)

There are a plenty of copycat recipes on the web (this one from Todd Wilbur, the king of cracking "top secret recipes," calls for ketchup, peanut oil, minced celery, and soy sauce). But the version that I like these days might be less of an exact replica of Benihana's and a closer relative to the dressings that often accompany salads at U.S. sushi restaurants.

Slightly adapted from the blog Just One Cookbook, it's made with carrots, onion, miso, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and, of course, plenty of ginger, which blend into something like a saltier, more savory version of your favorite reviving juice.

Do know that this dressing is very gingery—an intensity balanced by the blandness of crunchy leaves. Start on the low end of the recommendation and scale up to suit your tastes.

And think beyond salad: This would make a great dipping sauce for fresh spring rolls, poached chicken, or sautéed shrimp. Just don't try catapulting them from your pan and into the mouth of your dinner companions, okay?

5562ab89 4555 487c a6f9 cd849d7703c9  2017 0315 japanese carrot ginger dressing julia gartland 048

Carrot-Ginger Dressing (Benihana Style)

Bb305185 6b66 45c6 ac96 6204c9dd8a30  dsc09796 Sarah Jampel
59 Save
Makes about 1 cup
  • 1 carrot (65 grams), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small onion (35 grams)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger, to taste
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon (scant) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white or yellow miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt, to taste
Go to Recipe

Any restaurant recipes you're dying to recreate at home? Tell us in the comments.