It’s official: Fall has arrived in Miami. We woke up this morning to 63 degree weather. I know most other places are already enjoying cooler temperatures but I was walking in 92 degree weather last week. And now finally we can enjoy our days without read more
Category: Gluten Free
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
There may not be a more crowd pleasing, popular dessert than cheesecake, and this Japanese Cheesecake is next level. It’s melt in your mouth delicious; part cheesecake and part soufflé. All the creamy tang of cheesecake, lightened with the airy cloudlike texture of a soufflé. Now you know what you’re making next time someone says, “bring dessert”.
Unlike New York style cheesecake, which is rich, dense, and decadent, this Japanese Cheesecake is soft, airy, and sophisticated. It perfectly reflects Japanese tastes when it comes to desserts. It’s modestly sweet and just rich enough for you to feel like it’s dessert. Honestly, it’s hard to stop at just one serving. So if you’re a cheesecake lover (and let’s get real, who isn’t?), switch it up and try a different spin on a familiar favorite.
What separates Japanese cheesecake, also called Soufflé cheesecake, from a New York style cheesecake that you may be more familiar with is its incredibly light, fluffy, and airy texture. That texture comes from an egg white meringue that gets mixed into the cream cheese batter. And it relies on having a truly preheated oven. Don’t rush, give your oven enough time to heat up. If the oven isn’t hot enough, the egg whites will deflate and the cheesecake will be dense and heavy instead of light and airy, so turning on the oven is always the first thing I do. Then I begin by prepping my soufflé ramekin.
Prepping the Ramekin
I use the same ramekin here that I use for making soufflés. It’s 7 inches across and 5 inches deep. You can use a slightly bigger one too; your cake will just be a little bigger but flatter. First I swipe it with softened butter (you can also spray it with nonstick spray), and then I use parchment paper to fashion a sling that helps lift it out. The butter/oil is important for not only making sure the non-parchment parts of the cake don’t stick, but also for sticking the parchment in place.
I used standard parchment paper from a roll and cut out a circle by tracing the ramekin on paper with a pencil. Then I cut out the circle. The circle should either fit exactly into the pan or be a tiny bit smaller. I’m a terrible cutter, and can rarely cut a straight line, so my circle is typically asymmetrical. But that’s ok too; just make sure that the parchment circle is not so big that you have excess paper that’s balled up at the edges.
Next, I rip off two wide strips for the sling, which will help us pull the cake out from the baking dish. You do not need much overhang of paper. In fact, if they are too long, there’s always a chance they will burn getting close to a heating element. The sling should be long enough to reach the top of the ramekin so you can grip and pull out the cheesecake. Even if the cake cooks to the top of the ramekin, it will shrink back as it cools.
If you don’t have a ramekin, you can also use a 7 inch deep pan (about 4 inches). Since this cheesecake cooks in a water bath, a spring form pan may not be the best idea, unless you are POSITIVE that it will not leak-either batter out or water in. No matter what pan you use, use the same parchment technique. Only oil the pan. Do not oil the parchment as it’s already non stick and putting extra oil will cause you to bake up a wet gummy layer on the parchment.
Make the Batter
Then I start making the batter. Make sure to bring the butter and cream cheese to room temperature so that it can blend easily. I usually leave both out on the counter before I go to sleep, so the next day it’s there, ready for me.
This recipe uses a lot of bowls and equipment-yeah sorry about that! But there’s just no way around it. Because this cake is so simple, no real garnishes or add-ins to distract your eye, every step is important to achieve that smooth silky texture and lush mouthfeel. You will be rewarded in the end, so roll up your sleeves and don’t get discouraged.
Now it’s time to make the meringue, which gives the Japanese cheesecake its trademark cloudlike texture. There a couple rules to whipping a great meringue. First, make sure your equipment is squeaky clean. Any oily residue on your bowl or whip will interfere with the meringue and you will not get the volume you want. Also, your hands should be very clean for the same reason. Finally, make sure that you separate the egg yolks from the whites cleanly. Any trace of yolk in the egg whites will also affect your meringue.
Egg whites are at the soft peak stage when they will briefly hold a shape before collapsing. They are soft and malleable, not the stiff shiny peaks that happen after beating for several minutes longer. Soft peaks are easier to fold into the batter, which will help you retain the volume (it’s all about volume people ;))
Adding the meringue to the base helps to lighten the cheesecake mixture so it doesn’t deflate the meringue when it all gets mixed together. If you’ve ever made a soufflé, this technique will be familiar to you. Once you add the lightened base to the rest of the meringue, mix gently, taking care to not deflate the meringue. It’s ok to have a couple of thin streaks of egg white, which is preferable to over mixing.
Now it’s time to bake. I bake my Japanese cheesecake in a water bath to help ensure a gentle, even heat.
Bake for an hour undisturbed, and then test with a skewer. It should come out mostly clean. I turn the oven off, leaving the door cracked open with a towel wedged in the crack. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for at least another hour or two. This helps it set up so it’s not as jiggly when you try to remove it. The gentle cooling will help the cake from deflating. If you were to remove the cake from the oven immediately, the cold air would cause the cake to shrink down significantly. Don’t let your hard work go to waste!
Once the cake has cooled in the oven, transfer the ramekin to the counter and run a knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it’s free. Then grab the 2 parchment slings on the left with your left hand and the other slings with your right hand. Gently lift and transfer the cake to a serving plate.
You can serve this at room temperature when it’s at its fluffiest, most soufflé-like texture, but I prefer it after a few hours in the fridge. I like to simply garnish my cheesecake with a dusting of powdered sugar but some fresh berries would be nice too.
If you are a cheesecake fan, you cannot sleep on this one. There’s a reason Japanese Cheesecake is so Instagram and TikTok famous. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think. Rate and comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen-we love seeing your creations!
- 8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 4 egg yolks (at room temperature)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar+2 Tablespoons for pan
- ½ a large lemon, zested and then juiced (you should yield 2 Tablespoons juice)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (1.125 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
For the pan:
baking spray or 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and move the oven rack to the middle.
- Liberally grease the inside of your 7½ inch soufflé ramekin with the softened butter using your fingers (you can also use the oil spray).
- Line the ramekin: Cut two strips of parchment paper that are 2½ inches wide and 15 inches in length (this was the length of my parchment roll. It’s fine if yours is a little longer). These strips will form a sling that will help you pull the cake out. Next cut out a 7½ inch circle for the bottom of the pan. Lay the long strips for the sling first, forming a cross, and let any excess paper hang over the sides of the pan. Next place the circle down. (Don’t oil the parchment paper; it will create a wet gooey layer.)
- Combine the milk and heavy cream and microwave for 30 seconds until barely warm.
- Add the cream cheese and butter to a bowl and whisk for a couple minutes until smooth. Add the yolks one at a time, mixing well each time. Then add the heavy cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and flour. Whisk well again.
- Pour the mixture through a strainer into another bowl to make sure there are no lumps of flour or coagulated egg. Mix in lemon peel, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a clean bowl, add the egg whites and beat on medium speed (6 on a stand mixer) for a couple of minutes until they become foamy.
- Add the sugar in a very slow stream while the egg whites continue to beat. Raise the speed to high (8 or 9 on a stand mixer). Beat until soft peaks form. (When you lift the whisk attachment, the meringue forms a peak but then it slowly flops over.)
- Add a third of the meringue to the batter and mix gently using a spatula until the white meringue is completely mixed in. Now pour the lightened batter into the meringue bowl and fold gently until you don’t see unmixed meringue (small streaks are ok).
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Place the cake pan in a deep baking tray or a large deep oven safe skillet. Fill the baking tray with cool water about 1½ inches high.
- Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Test the center with a skewer. It should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Turn off the oven, crack the door open (you can sandwich a kitchen towel in the opening if the oven door will not stay open), and leave the cake in the oven for 1-2 hours to gently cool.
- Remove the cake from the water bath and set it on the kitchen counter.
- Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Pull the cake out using the slings.
- You can serve the cake at room temperature which is where it will be extra soft and most souffle-like. Otherwise, chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
- Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
*Preheating your oven is crucial. Turn on your oven before you start the recipe. If you do not have an automatic beeper letting you know your oven is ready, let your oven heat up for 25 minutes before you start baking. Check that the inside of the oven is the correct temperature as some ovens have a variance between the actual temperature and what the setting indicates.
*My baking setting is automatically set to a convection (or forced fan) oven. If you’re using a standard oven, you may need to cook the cake for 10 minutes longer.
*If you do not have a soufflé ramekin, a 4 inch deep 7 inch cake pan (that is not springform) is best. But if the cake pan has a springform bottom, cover the bottom and side of the cake pan with a large sheet of aluminum foil so that the foil continuously covers the bottom and the side to just below the rim. You want to make sure no batter leaks out and no water leaks into the pan.
*Getting the right texture on the meringue is very important. Soft peaks means when you lift the whisk attachment or dip in a clean spoon, the meringue forms a peak but then slowly folds over. Do not beat too much or you will get a hard peak where the meringue looks very stiff and will actually start to ooze liquid. It will be very difficult to fold this into your base and you will get much less rise in your cake. If you’re not sure, it’s always better to use slightly under beaten eggs than overbeaten.
*The temperature of ingredients is very important in baking. Use room temperature eggs. If your eggs are straight from the fridge, put them in warm water for 10 minutes. Butter should also be room temperature, which normally means you should be able to make an indent if you push a finger into it. In general, room temperature butter should not be greasy soft. But in this case, we are mixing it into cream cheese so it’s fine if it’s very soft.
*A kitchen scale is your best friend when baking because it is the most accurate. If you do not have one, make sure you always stir your dry ingredients before scooping. Never pack flour into a measuring cup. And always level off with the back of a butter knife if using the scooping method.
Keywords: cheesecake, dessert, sweets, holiday, japanese