Late August and I’m still reaching for quick and easy, no cook dishes that don’t skimp on flavor. And this Korean Cucumber Salad, known as Oi Muchim, is a favorite. It’s cooling and crunchy, a little spicy, and it has an amazing umami packed dressing. You read more
I just recently returned from a family trip to Hungary, where the food was heavy on rich meaty dishes, but light on veggies. I found myself craving one of my meatless meals where I make an array of plant based dishes so there’s a variety of textures, colors, and flavors to make dinner exciting. Yakimatsu is a powerful player in my arsenal of quick veggie sides. It’s ready in minutes, it’s a perfect side for any protein, and it’s made with only a handful of pantry ingredients. This speedy stir fry is tangy from the ponzu sauce while toasted sesame oil lends nutty richness, and a sprinkling of scallions adds a fresh bite.
This dish, with just regular mushrooms, has been on our menu since 1979! I know crazy. But it’s a time tested recipe that has savory flavor, likable ingredients, and a taste that doesn’t get old. It’s delicious whether you keep it simple with basic mushrooms and bottled sauce or extra special with some fancy mushrooms and homemade ponzu.
Use a Variety of Mushrooms for Yakimatsu!
This dish is all about the mushrooms. I select a variety for both visual appeal and to provide lots of different textures and flavors. Shiitakes, oysters, cremini, enoki, baby bellas, beech…they’re all good. And even good old button mushrooms all have their own distinctly different look, flavor, and texture.
Prep for Yakimatsu
Like all stir fries, prep is key for Yakimatsu. The actual cooking time is just about 5 minutes, so everything has to be prepped and within reach. Prep your veggies and have your ponzu sauce and sesame oil close. By the way, homemade ponzu sauce is so easy to make and is amazing here, but the bottled stuff will be great too.
Now it’s time to prep the mushrooms. I know the prevailing wisdom is to just gently brush dirt off mushrooms rather than wash them. That’s a no from me. I thoroughly wash mushrooms because that dirt can really cling to them and I feel that brushing them can actually rub the dirt in. So instead I wash them quickly under running water and dry them thoroughly. Then I use high enough heat that I don’t worry about the dreaded mushiness.
Yakimatsu Stir Fry Time!
Usual rules of stir fries apply here:
- Get your pan good and hot before adding the oil. This means heating it for several minutes.
- Have all your ingredients prepped and ready.
- Use high heat and keep everything moving in the pan.
And for good measure, I let the mushrooms sit undisturbed for 1 minute before stirring. I know this goes against the rule I just mentioned but mushrooms have a ton of water. And like other extra moist ingredients (such as ground meats) you need that heat plus lack of movement to get a good sear on your food.
Stir in the toasted sesame oil:
Mince the scallions to top the yakimatsu.
I like to also sprinkle some Shichimi togarashi chile on top for a little tickle of heat.
Yakimatsu makes a wonderful side to any number of dishes, and it pairs exceptionally well with these Japanese style pickles. I also like to serve it with other veggie forward plates like my fave Spinach, Air Fryer Tofu, Braised Peppers, or this Eggplant Salad. I hope you love this earthy and tangy mushroom stir fry as much as I do. Give it a try and let me know, we love hearing from you!
- 4 ounces mushrooms: use a combination of button, cremini, shiitake, or oyster
- 1 pack enoki mushrooms (about 5 ounces)
- ½ large onion
- ½ cup homemade or bottled ponzu sauce
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon minced scallion for garnish
- Shichimi togarashi chile to taste
- Slice the onion thin and set aside.
- Slice the mushrooms into approximately the same size and thickness. If the mushrooms are long or big, cut them in half before slicing.
- Open the packet of enoki mushrooms and cut off the growing medium at the bottom.
- Separate the mushrooms into small clusters. Set aside.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat for several minutes.
- Add the oil and swirl it around the pan.
- Add the mushrooms (except for the enoki) in an even layer over the pan and let them cook for 1 minute without touching them. They should brown around the edges.
- Next raise the heat to high and add the onions.
- Stir-fry for 1 minute, moving the food in the pan constantly.
- Add the enoki mushrooms and ponzu sauce. Stir to combine and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the sesame oil and toss to combine.
- Serve yakimatsu immediately garnished with scallions and shichimi togarashi.
Keywords: stir fry, mushrooms, vegan, vegetarian, ponzu, enoki, side dish
Watermelon Rind Kimchi? Well, I love watermelon. We eat an embarrassing amount in our house. We even used to have watermelon eating contests…and not even as a fun thing to do with our kids. Just me and my husband, don’t judge. But with copious amounts of watermelon, comes copious amounts of watermelon rind. Seeing the inside of the garbage can made me feel a little guilty. So I took some inspiration from the South and came up with this Watermelon Rind Kimchi. This quick crunchy side dish is perfect as an Asian condiment but equally at home on a summer table with BBQ, grilled foods, and other hot weather eats.
So next time you cut up a watermelon, don’t throw out that rind! This Watermelon Rind Kimchi adds bright, spicy sweet flavor to anything it touches. Cutting down on food waste has never been so easy and delicious…
Making Watermelon Rind Kimchi
Watermelon Rind Pickles are a Southern tradition. They are made in the same way that you might pickle cucumbers- using a salt brine with vinegar and classic pickling spices. My version takes a detour through Korea, adding gochugaru, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame seeds. This is not a traditional kimchi by any means but has many of the same flavors. It’s more like a mashup between kimchi and a pickle. You know how I love a good mashup! I start by prepping the watermelon rind.
It’s important to cut enough of the outer skin off so you don’t have tough pieces that are hard to chew. There’s plenty of rind on a watermelon, so don’t be afraid to skin a little more deeply than usual. Also, depending on how much watermelon flesh is left on the rind, your pickle will be a little more sweet or a little more savory. I love the color contrast and I’m also one of those who cuts out only the reddest part of the watermelon, so my rind is always very colorful.
Now it’s time to make the dressing. This is a quick little vinaigrette using familiar ingredients. It shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes to whip up.
I like to serve this watermelon rind kimchi with anything that could use a little blast of acidity. Try it as a side with some simply grilled fish, Omusubi Rice Balls or Korean Fried Chicken. Honestly I love to just snack on them right from the fridge, they are so refreshing!
Give them a try and let me know what you think. You can rate and comment on the recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us in your beautiful food pictures @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 2 1/2 pounds watermelon rind, about ¼ of watermelon with the red edible flesh removed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons Korean chili flakes (gocharu)*
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Peel the outside skin off of the watermelon. Cut the rind into 1 inch thick pieces. Cut the rind “sticks” into ½ inch cubes. You should have about 6 ½ cups of cubes.
- Put the watermelon in a storage container. Add salt and toss to combine.
- Mix the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, chile flakes, sesame seeds, and black pepper together in a cup and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Pour the mixture over the watermelon cubes, and toss to combine. Refrigerate for a couple hours and then toss again.
- Let the watermelon rind kimchi marinate for at least 4 hours before serving though it is best the next day. It will last in the fridge for about 1 week. Serve cold.
*The amount of gocharu in this recipe is modest and is used to contrast the sweetness of the watermelon. If you prefer a more authentically spicy flavor, you will need about 1 cup of Korean chili flakes.
Keywords: kimchi, watermelon rind, korean, condiments, pickles