Friday, August 17, 2012

soba noodles with eggplant and mango.

I live in a 600 square foot apartment with a boy who likes to find things that I may not need and bring them home to me, so we’ll just say space is a premium.  I have a soft spot in my heart for cookbooks but until I get the 1200 square foot apartment of my dreams, I need to be picky about what makes it on to the limited shelf space I have.  I recently purchased, after much deliberation Plenty, which was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  This is one of those beautiful cookbooks where each page makes you oh so hungry for vegetables.  Yes, vegetables.  This is a vegetarian cookbook and it’s all about making vegetables the center of your meal which is what I’ve done almost every meal this week.  I made the soba noodles with eggplant and mango the other night and it may have been one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while.  It’s spicy and sweet and it leaves you feeling full in the best possible way.  The best part of the dish is the handfuls of herbs you mix in; it makes the dish taste oh so fresh and summery.  Oh and it tastes even better the second day which means you will have a stellar lunch the next day. 

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango
Recipie from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 6

1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 fresh red Thai chile, finely chopped (or a generous tablespoon of Siracha)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cup sunflower oil or vegetable oil
2 medium eggplants or 1 large, cut into 3/4-inch dice
8 ounces soba noodles
1 large ripe mango, cut into 3/8-inch dice
1 2/3 cup basil leaves, chopped (if you can get some use Thai basil, but much less of it)
2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped

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, chile (or Siracha) and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.

Heat up the 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 rise well under running cold water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible.
In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs. You can now leave this aside for 1 to 2 hours (but can eat immediately!). When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.

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