Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango a la Ottolenghi

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.


19 Responses

  1. I’ve been a vegetarian for 4yrs but a reader of your blog for far longer. I do try your recipes that have some vegetarian flare even if it’s just a salad on the side. It would be a treat indeed to try your(future) vegetarian recipes even if it’s just a complement to your main non-veg recipe. Thank you for this recipe(awesome photos too) and a must try asap:D

  2. Let me just share that this blog reminds me of my mama..with this recipe ..which i thought she invented later in her life. Coz it was one of the last dishes she served me…instead of soba noodles she used grated half ripened papaya. Love u ma …

  3. P.s . She use indian mango.grated semi-ripened papaya and carrots though no eggplant and soba. Thank you

  4. 2 weeks in Nepal almost turned me into a vegetarian (mostly due to hygiene reasons)… but never the less I do love that Plenty book. Heading to London next week and hopefully will go and visit their restaurant.

  5. Hi MM, thanks for sharing this. It looks really good and I do love cold soba. Is there another type of veggie I can use in lieu of eggplant. Am not too fond of its texture.

  6. MM, thanks for this recipe, will definitely try to make this very soon. Having turned vegan late last year after undergoing major surgery, am always on the look out for recipes with no animal product as ingredient. The Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook looks interesting. Hope you will feature more recipes from it in your future posts.

  7. All my favorite ingredients in this salad, what’s not to love?!! My favorite salad for the longest time is Tyler Florence’s Winter Panzanella Salad from his recipe book, but I’m sure that will change as soon as I get a taste of this fabulous salad you posted:) I made your singkamas and carrot salad yesterday and I loved it, the husband did too:) We had it with fried chicken, I’m guessing it would be great paired with barbecued ribs especially in the summer. But this mango and soba noodle salad is not going to wait, I’ll have this as soon as I get my hands on fresh eggplants from Seafood City. I’m always interested in your salad recipes, the ones that are refreshing, it gets really hot here in Las Vegas. Thanks, you are my number one resource on Filipino foods!

  8. …talk about vegetables…Gejo: there is a new vegetable called FLOWER SPROUT…cross betweeen brussel sprouts and kale, pick them when tender. It looks more like an opened brussel sprout with curly leaves like kale…IT IS A MUST TRY!!!!! I found a supplier in the US….will mail you the seeds if you want sometime in May….it is a cool weather vegetable..high in ANTI-OXIDANTS and Vitamin C! …picture a brussel sprout plant but instead of balls of brussel sprouts on the stalk, there are opened sprouts like a flower with curly leaves.

    Another one you might want to try is BRIGHT LIGHTS SWISS CHARD SPROUTS! Grow them indoors in big flats and cut them. Kaya lang you need a million seeds if you want to supply your sukis like MM and Joey! Use them to top salads or in sandwiches! Ok… you can tell I am into sprouts these days!

  9. it’s going to be most challenging for us to turn (semi) vegetarian, and this is a start! ripe mangoes always add flavor and contrast to salad. maybe, i will opt to grill the eggplant and add a pinch of crushed chili for added kick. thanks, MM!

  10. MM, do yourself a favor a try his Carrot and Mongo salad…used kesong puti instead of feta. It is fabulous. We had it for lunch yesterday at the beach. His shop off Westbourne Grove in Bayswater is always one of my first stops in London. I love his food with a passion.

  11. From the Guardian site.

    Yotam Ottolenghi’s carrot and mung bean salad recipe:

    Forget mung beans’ reputation as healthy yet bland – used right, they soak up loads of flavour. Serves four.

    140g dried green mung beans
    60ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp caraway seeds
    1 tsp fennel seeds
    2 tbsp white wine vinegar
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
    1 tsp salt
    3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm batons
    ½ tsp sugar
    20g coriander, chopped
    Grated zest of 1 lemon
    140g feta, broken into chunks

    Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil, add the beans and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until they are cooked but still retain a bite. Drain, shake well and transfer to a large bowl. About three minutes before the beans are done, heat two tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan and add the seeds. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until they start to pop – about three minutes – then pour, hot oil and all, over the beans, along with the vinegar, garlic, chilli and half a teaspoon of salt.

    While the beans are cooking, lay the carrots in a pan large enough for them to form a shallow layer on the bottom. Pour over about 150ml water – the carrots should be nearly submerged – plus two tablespoons of oil and half a teaspoon each of sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and keep on a high heat for eight minutes, by which time the water should have evaporated and the carrots become slightly caramelised but still crunchy. Drain some liquid, if needed.

    Add the carrots to the bean bowl, along with the coriander, and stir gently. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl, sprinkle over lemon zest, dot with feta and drizzle with olive oil

  12. So glad you are trying out vegetarian recipes, I have the same cookbook! Try the baked pumpkin slices with breadcrumbs and parmesan, and sourcream with dill on the side – definitely something original! It wasn’t too too hard for a novice cook like me so I’m sure you can whip it up for a quick but satisfying snack in a jiffy :)

  13. MM, have you tried the Japanese roasted sesame seed dressing? It is umami. I had to stop when I started to pour it over hot rice.

    I think it would work with this salad’s flavor palette.

  14. I have a similar recipe w/ penne or ziti noodles! For a healthier option, I cut up and roast the eggplant in the oven for 20 mins ( w/ a drizzle of olive oil and some cumin or curry) When you put in the dressing & herbs, it does taste better when you let it sit about half hour before eating. I have also substituted brown rice and bulghur for the noodles & it works really well.



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