I’ve been exploring more vegetarian dishes in the past few days. Trying to eat healthier, and less volume, but it was hard to stick to one serving of this dish. It doesn’t only look terrific, it tasted fantastic! Definitely a keeper of a recipe, and since it’s made an hour or two before serving, it’s perfect for stressless, casual entertaining. Pair these noodles with some Asian style fried chicken and a simple dessert and you a great meal for friends and family. It’s the first dish I tried from the cookbook “Plenty” by Totam Ottolenghi, and I definitely want to try a few more recipes in the weeks ahead…
First, cook the soba noodles by plunging them into heaps of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes then drain and rinse in cold water. Set these aside to cool fully. Next, make a dressing of Japanese rice vinegar, sugar, a touch of garlic, red chilies, toasted sesame oil, lime juice and lime zest and I added some Kikkoman soy sauce (not in the original recipe). Set that aside. Cube some eggplants into 3/4 inch pieces and fry them briefly in vegetable oil until light golden brown and drain on paper towels and salt generously. Slice up some mango and a small red onion (I soak my red onion slices in ice water for 15 minutes to remove the harshest notes of flavor) and ready lots of herbs — I used basil, cilantro and mint.
In a mixing bowl, add the soba noodles, toss in the eggplant, mangoes, onions, dressing and toss gently. Add half the herbs and toss a bit more. Adjust seasoning as you see fit. Lime juice is really good with the recipe, but lemon juice will do in a pinch. Let this sit to absorb flavors and dressing for about 1 hour; in the Philippines, I would refrigerate, unless you have a really cold kitchen. Take out from the fridge and add the remaining half of the herbs and serve. Not easy to eat with chopsticks… the mango slips. :) But I promise that you will probably go back for seconds.