Using the Grill in Your Japanese Apartment Kitchen

Especially in big cities such as Tokyo, apartment kitchens can be devastatingly small. But before you wave off this part of your house as impractical, know that as with a lot of things Japanese, it has been cleverly designed. In fact, it is equipped with lots of features to make your daily life easier – one of which is the tiny grill pull-out grill found right below your burners.

This useful hunk on your kitchen is called the 魚焼きグリル (sakanayaki guriru) which can be directly translated as fish grill because they are most often used to, duh, grill fish. However, don’t let the name fool you as you can actually also use it to barbecue meat and vegetables or even prepare concoctions such as desserts and pizza.

The grill that we have in our kitchen is the typical lower-end model which only has burners on the top part and includes a metal tray that needs to be filled with water before use. If your kitchen is furnished with the higher-end model (ah, the lifestyle of the rich and famous), it would either have burners both on the top and bottom part (which means half the cook time, lucky you) or would only have burners on the top part but a pan at the bottom instead of a grill (meaning, no need to add water).

How To Use
  1. Fill the bottom tray with water. This is a very important step that you should not forget as it is meant to prevent the temperature from getting too high and causing a fire hazard. It also makes cleaning the tray later so much easier.
  2. Press the button or turn the knob to light up the burners (this would usually be indicated with a fish symbol).
  3. Pre-heat the oven (about 3-5 minutes).
  4. Start grilling your food (for this you can choose to put it on top of some foil or directly on the metal grill).
  5. If you only have burners on top, don’t forget to flip over to the other side.
  6. Once done, turn off. Take out the bottom tray and the broiler for washing.
Safety Tips
  1. As soon as you ignite the burners, the glass panel in front of it will be very hot so practice caution when opening, closing or checking the cook on your food inside.
  2. Make sure that there is nothing on top or near the exhaust on your stove top. This is where the heat from the grill will come out.
  3. The smell of gas can be quite overwhelming when you are using the grill so make sure to turn on the kitchen exhaust fan.

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