Koreans have an amazing food culture. Even the most casual meal might include 5-6 little sides, known as banchan. These delicious little bites of this or that adds tons of interesting textures, colors, and flavors. Zucchini is turned into all kinds of banchan, from pickled to spicy kimchis. This super fast and satisfying Lemon Zucchini would make an excellent addition to a Korean BBQ feast, and is the perfect complement to any number of main dishes.
Unlike a lot of Korean side dishes, this one doesn’t include soy sauce or sesame oil. So if you’re looking for something a little different and new, give this quick little recipe a spin.
Lemon Zucchini Stir Fry
This Lemon Zucchini is a fast stir fry, so have your ingredients prepped and within reach before starting to cook. That way you can breeze through the cooking process. I salt the zucchini to help separate the slices, which tend to clump together. The other thing salt does is draw out moisture, which can prevent browning if too much liquid is drawn out. So you need to move quickly once the zucchini is salted. Otherwise, leave the zucchini on some paper towels to absorb excess moisture before stir frying.
Fish Sauce for Flavor
The ingredient list for Lemon Zucchini is really short. But merely the one tablespoon of fish sauce really adds an intense pop of flavor and just the right hint of funk. (If you want to make this vegan, you can sub an equal amount of coconut aminos or soy sauce, and there are vegetarian versions of fish sauce available as well.)
Then I just give everything another good stir, and garnish with the basil. It’s not a traditional Korean herb and actually pushes flavors a little more Southeast Asian. But the combination of lemon and basil is refreshing and damned delicious. Pretty much any other herb you have on hand would work with this too-chives, mint, or cilantro would all be fantastic.
Lemon Zucchini is amazing served with:
Or make it part of a plant forward meal and serve with rice and any of these:
However you decide to enjoy the Lemon Zucchini, I just know it’s going to become a new favorite. Try it tonight and tell me what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below, and tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2-3 servings 1x
- 1 ½ lbs zucchini or a combination of zucchini and yellow squash (about 3 medium)
- 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 sprig of basil (about 4–5 leaves)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the zucchini/squash gently yet thoroughly making sure to remove any trace of grit.
- Slice the ends off of the squash.
- Slice the squash lengthwise and then into into thin half moons.
- Sprinkle salt (about 3 dashes) over zucchini and toss.
- Heat a large pan over high heat. Add the oil and then the garlic and zucchini. Stir-fry the zucchini for 2 mins.
- Add the fish sauce tossing to coat the zucchini.
- Turn the heat off and zest the lemon over the zucchini. Then cut the lemon in half and squeeze half of the lemon over the zucchini.
- Give the contents of the pan a quick toss to combine. Taste the zucchini and add a little salt or pepper to taste if needed.
- Plate the lemon zucchini, tear the basil by hand and sprinkle on top, and serve immediately.
Keywords: banchan, zucchini, fish sauce, veggie sides