I fell ‘out’ of the cookbook challenge when faced with the egg challenge- as I just couldn’t bring myself to make a dish staring a food I would rather not eat, so I am making this my ‘return’ to the challenge, and will use this for the one I forgot to post before the infamous egg challenge- Celebration.
This is my celebratory return to the challenge.
Yotam Ottolenghi describes this dish as his mother’s ‘cook to impress’ dish. I will admit to being impressed with the taste, though I am not sure I pulled it off 100%. I used 1 eggplant thinking that would be enough (NTS: they reduce A LOT when cooked) and went with the lemon and herbs in the fridge rather than the coriander and basil asked for. With the coriander and lime juice in the dressing it would have been fantastic. The dressing really lifts this dish and I would be happy eating plain soba noodles with the dressing.
Soba Noodles with Aubergine and Mango
He also suggests serving this as a substantial starter or a turn it into a light main course by adding some fried firm tofu.
From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
120ml rice vinegar
40g caster sugar
½ tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
220ml sunflower oil
2 aubergines, cut into 2cm dice
250g soba noodles
1 large ripe mango, cut into 1cm dice or into 5mm thick strips
40g basil leaves, chopped (if you can get some use Thai basil, but much less of it)
40g coriander leaves, chopped
½ red onion, very thinly sliced
First make the dressing. In a small saucepan gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to 1 minute, just until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chilli 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 aubergine 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 5–8 minutes to become tender but still retaining a bite. Drain and rinse well under running cold water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible, then leave to dry on a tea towel.
In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, aubergine, half of the herbs and the onion. You can now leave this aside for 1–2 hours. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.