Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

This is from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.  Get yourself a copy, stat.

Serves 6 (Or a handful of hungry ladies)


1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 fresh red chile, (or red pepper flakes or jalapeno if you can't find it)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
grated zest and juice of one lime
1 cup sunflower oil
2 eggplants, cut into 3/4 inch dice, or into 1/4 inch thick strips
2 cups basil leaves, chopped or julienned (or Thai basil, but less of it)
2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
Handful of cashews, or pepitas (pumpkin seeds) lightly toasted in a pan on the stove


In a small saucepan gently warm the vinegar, sugar, and salt for up to a minute, just until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chile, and sesame oil.  Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.

Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in three or four batches.  Once golden brown, remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt, and leave there to drain.

Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally.  They should take 5 to 8 minutes to become tender (but still al dente).  Drain and rinse well under running cold water.  shake off as much excess water as possible, then leave to dry on a dish towel (or another colander).

In a mixing bowl, toss the noodles with the dressing (that was put aside in the first step), mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion.  You can now leave this aside for an hour or two (or eat immediately if you're starving).  When ready to serve, add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.  If you using the toasted cashews or pepitas, sprinkle on top, then serve.