It feels like it’s almost too hot to eat these days, let alone cook. That’s where this Cucumber Tomato Salad comes in. Summer produce at its peak doesn’t need much in the way of embellishment, but a quick dressing with some umami rich favorites keeps 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
Sweetened red bean paste, or Tsubuan, is probably one of Japan’s most recognized sweet flavors. It’s used in mochi, ice cream, and pastries. It’s even delightful just spread on toast. You can find tsubuan in Asian markets, but it’s so much better when made from scratch! With just a handful of ingredients and only a few minutes of active time, you can have your own sweet red bean paste ready to incorporate into easy Japanese inspired desserts.
Although beans in sweets may seem strange to a Western palate, they are very common in East Asia. We use all different kinds and they are typically cooked, sweetened, mashed to some degree, and then used as a filling, topping, or garnish. They have a subtle earthy flavor, creamy texture, with a sweetness that is just right. If you like desserts made with chestnuts or sweet potatoes, I would say Tsubuan is in the same family.
Sweet red bean paste is made with azuki beans. They are a small red bean grown throughout South East Asia. They have a very mild flavor with a hint of sweetness, which is why they take so well to dessert applications. There are two different kinds of red bean paste made with Azuki beans: a chunky rough one which is chock full of whole beans and then a smooth one, where all of the skins and fiber have been strained out. Tsubuan is seen as the more casual, every day kind of sweet- the kind you plop on some ice cream, sandwich between a simple layer cake, or just spoon out of the container (ok maybe that’s just me).
Koshian, the smooth Azuki paste, has a lighter flavor and color, and is reserved for beautiful, sophisticated sweets typically purchased at a specialty store. I would equate the differences as akin to the feud between chunky and smooth peanut butter, where each has its fans.
So today, we’re making the chunky version. Turning the Azuki beans into Tsubuan first involves softening the beans.
Then drain the beans, and again cover them with water and bring to a simmer.
The beans will need to simmer for one and a half to two hours, until they are soft enough to easily crush with your fingers.
Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the beans are shiny but still a little loose, about 10-12 minutes. The bean liquid will thicken as it cools. I like to leave just enough liquid so it cools into a thick wet mass, scoop-able and not runny. If you prefer it more wet because you plan on using it as a loose topping, cook it for 4-5 minutes instead.
Once the tsubuan has been cooled to room temperature, it’s ready to be used. Serve it spooned on pound cake, topped on ice cream, or as a surprise filling for french toast. Top my Matcha Cake with it for a very Japanese inspired dessert. Or just sneak spoonfuls of it from the fridge-it’s a very healthy, lightly sweet snack. It keeps for about about a week in the fridge but you can also freeze it as well. I split up my batch into smaller container and freeze it all. When I feel like having some, I will either defrost it overnight in the fridge or pop it in the microwave for a couple minutes on low power.
Make some this week and see why it is such an enduring favorite. When you do, let me know what you think. Comment on the recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 1 cup red beans
- 1 cup sugar
- A couple dashes of salt
- Put red beans in a pot with 4 cups of water. Let them boil for 5 minutes over medium high heat and then drain and discard the water.
- Next add 4 cups of fresh water to the pot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Lower the heat to medium low, partially cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours (add more water as needed to keep the water level above the beans).
- You can also pressure cook the beans, which takes only about 25 minutes.
- The beans should now be very soft, and you should be able to easily crush a bean between your fingers.
- Discard the water again and put the soft beans back in the pot with the sugar and salt. Cook the beans over medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 10-12 minutes until the beans are shiny but still a little loose. You should have bits of whole and broken beans in your anko.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Transfer tsubuan to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.
*Tsubuan will keep for a week in the fridge. It also freezes very well.
Keywords: azuki beans, sweet bean paste, desserts, sweets, japanese, vegan