Foiru-yaki: Mixed Grill in Foil

Foil-packet_6575 I chose this recipe in order to “break-in” my birthday gift hibachi. It’s made of cast iron, and though I think it has been pre-seasoned, I wanted to start with something that would not stick and burn on the grate. As it turned out, it was wet and rainy at dinner time, so I used my oven. Never mind, though: this is a really delicious meal no matter the heat source. It’s a simple combination of fish, shrimp, chicken, and mushrooms cooked with a bit of lemon and sake. The flavors marry and become an incredible fusion greater than the sum of its parts.

Gingami-yaki is the contemporary version of the age-old practice of wrapping foods in wet leaves for cooking in hot ashes. Leaves or paper allows the food to “breathe” as it cooks. In Japan, hand-made paper was used, but today, it is very expensive. Foil is much more accessible. Another technique for cooking food in a fire is to use unglazed earthenware. In India and China foods are packed in wet clay, then fired until the clay is baked. The hard covering is cracked open while still hot and the food inside is nicely cooked in its own juices. In Japan a two piece earthenware vessel called a hõraku was developed. It looks like two cymbals sealed rim to rim with clay or mud. The vessel would be buried in live coals to cook the foods in it. Whether one uses foil or a clay container, the food is actually steamed (steaming = musimono), but in Japan where the traditional heat source is charcoal, this cooking method is called mushi-yaki (steam grilling).



mixed-grill_6594Mixed Grill in Foil
serves 4
From: Japanese Cooking A Simple Art
by Shizuo Tsuji
page 196
To Prepare:
• 1 pound white-fleshed fish fillets
sea bream, sea bass, flounder,
sole, and so on
• ½ pound shrimp
• ½ pound chicken thigh meat
• 8 large mushrooms
matsutake, shiitake,
or western-type mushrooms
Cut large fish fillet crosswise into 4-ounce portions.
Shell and devein shrimp. Leave tales attached. Parboil in lightly salted water til pink, then drain and cool.
Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces, and score each a few times, to make sure the chicken cooks quickly.
Clean mushrooms. Trim off hard shiitake stems, but discard only the root end of the matsutake stem. Cut lenthwise into slices ¼ inch thick.
Get your grill ready!
The charcoal fire should be at its hottest; coals should be red, and there should be no flame. The hand test for hotness of charcoal: hold your hand over the grill and if you have to remove it before you count to 3, then it’s hot enough! If you are cooking this in an oven, pre-heat to 475°F.
Assemble the packets:
• 4 12-inch squares of
aluminum foil
• 1 lemon, sliced thinly
• 2 Tablespoons saké
Butter the centers of the foil squares. In the center of each, place a portion of fish fillet, skin side up. On top and around it arrange shrimp, chicken, and mushroom slices. Top with a pat of butter and a lemon slice. Over each portion, sprinkle about ½ Tablspoon saké.
Fold up into a packet and crimp edges to seal well.
Place on grill above coals and grill for 10 minutes. Don’t turn. (Or bake for 15 to 20 minutes.)
To serve:
• salt
• soy sauce (shoyu)
Remove packets from coals and place on individual serving plates. Let diners open packets themselves at the table. Serve hot with salt and shoyu.
Don’t plan to cook once and eat twice with this recipe: it doesn’t reheat very well because the fish and shrimp get over-cooked.
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10 thoughts on “Foiru-yaki: Mixed Grill in Foil

  1. I wouldn’t reheat seafood either, but you could use it in a salad or something else cold.

    Happy belated birthday, just in case I missed it. You should enjoy your hibachi. If you have a problem with sticking, just clean it, coat with oil and leave it over hot coals for a while.

    • I should have made it into a salad, but I was running late for work and just grabbed the leftovers from the fridge. The microwave did it no favor.

      Hey, thanks for the birthday greeting! We used to celebrate the whole month of June with so many family birthdays and wedding anniversaries. Not so much now since people are gone or moved far away, but it’s my birthday and it can be the whole month if I want to. ≥^,^≤

  2. You just celebrate away!!! It would be wonderful to make June a “Pamper Tess” month.

    Bloomsday is June 16th, if you are at all literary minded. We wanted to get married on the date, but it didn’t work out logistically, so we married on the anniversary of D-Day. Sad to say, it’s a good way for me to remember. ;-)

    • It’s our wedding anniversary today! Haven’t really made plans. It’ll be a surprise, then.

      Bloomsday would have been a great day to get married. O Molly and yes I said yes I will Yes.

      We were on Omaha beach for the 55th anniversary of D-Day. Also, we saw a re-enactment of the paratroopers landing. The day still has a lot of meaning to the French, especially in Normandy. I wrote a little about it here

      • A very happy anniversary to you and Mr. Tess! Hope you get a nice surprise.

        Thanks for the link — what a moving trip that must have been. I know that the French still have ceremonies to remember the invasion. I wasn’t around, but I’m old enough to have noticed that the D-Day anniversary is slowly fading from view in this country.

        I am now thinking about your French mussels. ;-)

  3. Happy Anniversary!!

    This looks yummy. I love seafood cooked in parchment or foil and have a couple on my blog. They make such a wonderful presentation, I think.

    I didn’t know until very late on D-Day that Discovery has a Military channel and there was a marathon. A few of the programs are on again tonight so I hope to catch at least one.

    • Hey Hi! ella!

      Thanks for the good wishes!

      I haven’t done much of this sort of packet cooking. It’s kind or cool as you say. I’ll have to do a search of your blog.

      I found the foil distracting/annoying here—that tinny thin fragile-ness I think. Parchment would have been nicer, softer. But if I’d used the hibachi, tinfoil would have been the thing to use.

      And now I’m thinking of the recipe in Beatrice Ojakangas’s book that bakes fish inside a dough crust. I used to make that back when we were first married. You don’t (can’t unless you want to break a tooth) eat the crust. But the fish turns out very moist and tender.

  4. Fish in dough is so French! (as long as the dough is mille feuilles, puff pastry)

    I won’t clutter you with links but the posts to search for on my blog are called Fish Fillets in Parchment and Shrimp on a Bed of Greens. The latter is pure seduction.

    I used to have a hibachi. It was just teh right size and weighed a ton and rusted in a heartbeat. Maybe by now they have some anti-rusting properties or you have somewhere to get it out of the rain!

  5. I’ll have to look again for the recipe, but the dough acted more like the pottery to keep the fish and seasonings moist. You did not eat it. Not French at all!!

    I’ll take a look for the packets!

    The hibachi I really loved was sort of lightweight, folded so it was very easy to carry, and had little racks that you could set at different levels above the coals. It was inexpensive, but great. Also cheap. It only lasted about 4 years.

    This one is cast iron and will rust, just like a cast iron skillet or frying pan. And it’s very heavy. The place I work, we get vinyl pick-up truck covers that were wrong (sewing or rivets), or sometimes just the heavy vinyl if there is a flaw. Perfect for a cover for this hibachi. $5 is very cheap, right!! And long story but I can keep it off the ground on a stainless steal “counter” so it should be ok outside for the summer. We will see…

    Also, I’m planning to keep the grates that you cook on and that hold the coals in the house.

    But don’t you love cast iron cookware?

  6. Hello, Tess….

    I am sorry to contact you through your website, but I lost your email address

    could you drop me a line?


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