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
Cà Tím Nuong is a lovely grilled Vietnamese eggplant salad. I don’t always want to fire up the grill just for a few veggies though. By now I think you know I really hate to get a grill going outside in South Florida; I find the humid heat torturous enough! In today’s recipe, I’ve captured everything I love about the original; all of the fresh herbs, the zingy dressing, the crunchy fried shallots, and the meltingly tender eggplant without having to deal with the hassle of grilling. Plus I even threw in some zucchini for color and an extra serving of veggies! This warm eggplant salad makes a wonderful starter or side, and makes a delicious light supper for two.
Nuoc Cham Dressing
Nuoc cham is a fundamental Vietnamese sauce. It’s insanely flavorful and so easy to make. If you’re like me and you just can’t get enough of its citrusy, funky taste, make a double batch and use it for Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Bowls, Bahn Mi sandwiches, or Chicken Larb Wraps.
You can omit the fish sauce and substitute coconut aminos or soy sauce if you want to make this vegan. It will still be delicious; it will just be missing that little pop of funk.
Eggplant seems to be a love it or hate it veggie, and I’m definitely in the love it camp. I use Chinese eggplant here, you can find it at Asian grocers and frequently at farmers markets. It is long and slender, with vivid purple colors. This type of eggplant is much more tender and cooks faster than the typical globe eggplant you see in grocery stores. It’s also less seedy and bitter. You never have to peel it, salt it, or do any cooking voodoo to make it delicious.
Roasting eggplant at high heat makes it very tender. I like it to get nicely browned because the caramelization brings out its sweetness. Just wash and cut off the stem. No need to peel it. The flesh is so tender, it’s actually a benefit to keep the skin on.
Then I put the eggplant salad in a serving dish and top with fried shallots. The warm veggies, the fresh herbs, the citrusy nuoc cham, and the crunchy shallots make for a magical combination. If you’ve only ever had a warm spinach salad, now is your chance to add another warm salad to your repertoire. And if you have salad haters in the house, just don’t call it a salad. They’ll never know!
This Eggplant Salad is perfect alongside Sesame Green Beans and Stir Fried Pea Shoots for a light, healthy dinner. With a heaping bowl of Coconut Rice too, of course. 😉 Let me know what you think by commenting on and rating the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 1 pound Chinese eggplant (3 medium)
- 1 medium zucchini
- ½ large yellow onion
- 3 Tablespoons neutral oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup cilantro (small handful)
- ¼ cup mint (small handful)
- 1 small shallot or ½ large shallot
- 2 Tablespoons fried shallots
- 4 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (from about 3 limes)
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1–2 Thai bird chile, minced, optional
Make the dressing:
- Combine the lime juice, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and chilis.
- Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Thinly slice the shallots and add it to the dressing. Stir to combine so the shallot rings separate.
- Set aside.
Prepare the vegetables:
- Preheat the oven to 425 and move the oven rack to the middle position.
- Wash and then trim the base of the eggplant. Cut it into thirds lengthwise. Then cut the eggplant logs in half and then into wedges. Place the eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Wash the zucchini well and trim the base. Cut it into thirds lengthwise. Then cut the zucchini logs in half and then into wedges. Add it to the eggplant.
- Cut the onion into thick slices and add it to the vegetables.
- Add the oil, salt, and pepper to the vegetables and toss to combine. Spread the vegetables evenly on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 minutes. They should be fully cooked and nicely caramelized.
- If your vegetables look a little pale, you can broil them for a couple of minutes until they have better color.
- Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
- Roughly chop the cilantro and mint and add to the vegetables. Next pour the dressing over the vegetables. Gently toss to combine.
- Transfer the eggplant salad to a serving dish and garnish with the fried shallots. Serve immediately.
*You can use regular globe eggplant if you cannot find Chinese eggplant. Peel the eggplant and cut it into thick slices. Stack the slices and cut through them to create thick strips. Finally cut across the strips to create ½ inch cubes. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Keywords: eggplant, nuoc cham, vietnamese, zucchini, healthy, salads