This refreshing summer dish is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty, which is a cookbook full of interesting vegetarian fare. Chilled with smoky notes from the eggplant, sweetness from the mango, and tartness from the dressing, it’s a colorful and fun light dish.
CHILLED SOBA NOODLES WITH MANGO, EGGPLANT AND BASIL
Adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi
1/2 c. rice vinegar
3 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tsp. toasted (dark) sesame oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. neutral oil, such as canola or peanut
2 medium to large eggplants, peeled and cut into 3/4″ dice
9-12 oz soba noodles (3-4 bundles)
8 oz. or 1 large ripe mango, cut into 3/4″ dice
1 oz. fresh basil (a large handful), roughly chopped
1 c. cilantro, or to taste, roughly chopped
1/2 c. red onion, thinly sliced
Equipment: Jelly roll pan for roasting eggplant, small saucepan, large pot for cooking noodles, colander, large salad bowl
To make eggplant: Toss the eggplant cubes with the soy sauce and neutral oil. Allow to marinate for ~ 15 minutes (meanwhile, you can make the dressing). After marinating, lightly oil your jellyroll pan (like a cookie sheet but with short sides, so the roasted eggplant juice doesn’t spill out) and spread the eggplant in a single layer. Broil for 8-10 minutes, stir, then broil a few more minutes if needed, until browned. (The original recipe calls for shallow-frying the eggplant in 1 cup of oil, which you are certainly welcome to try – but this way it’s lighter, using less oil, and no risk of burning yourself from splatters like I did the first time!) Set aside to cool.
To make dressing: In 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, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.
To make noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles for about 5 minutes (they should be tender but still al dente). Drain well and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking and chill the noodles. Pat dry with a paper towel.
To assemble the dish: Remove the garlic cloves from the dressing. In large salad bowl, toss together the noodles, dressing, mango, eggplant, onion, and half of the herbs (basil and cilantro). You can now set this aside or chill it for 1-2 hours. When ready to serve, top with the rest of the herbs and mix well. Enjoy!
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