Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty sold me with the cover. The rustic roasted eggplants with creamy buttermilk sauce, studded with pomegranate jewels. Exotic and gorgeous, yet familiar…

I was stoked when I received it in my much-anticipated Amazon delivery a couple of weeks ago – I couldn’t wait to dive into the beautiful photography and get some creative new ideas.

This dish from Plenty struck me as soon as I saw it in the eggplant chapter (yes, an entire chapter devoted to eggplant. How can you not love this book?) I am always looking for a good soba noodle dish  РI love their slightly nutty flavor and silky texture. This recipe called for the quirky combination of eggplant and mango. The bright yellow of the mango and browned eggplant woven through the sandy-colored noodles just looked like fun. I had to make this.

The sweet, ripe mango and velvety, savory eggplant pair really well together. I added some shelled edamame to give another bright pop of color to this already surprising dish.

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi – I decided not to shallow fry my eggplant and adjusted the measurements to serve 4 instead of 6.
Serves 4

– 1/4 cup rice vinegar
– 1 tablespoon of honey
– 1/2 teaspoon of salt
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 1/2 fresh chili, finely chopped
– 1 teaspoon sesame oil
– zest and juice from half a lime
– 2-3 tablespoons oil
– 1 medium eggplant, cut into even bite-sized chunks
– 6 ounces/170 grams of soba noodles
– 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
– 1 large mango, cut into even bite-sized chunks
– 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced into half-moons
– 1 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
– 1 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

In a small saucepan heat vinegar, honey and salt for 1 minute, making sure the honey is combined with the vinegar. Remove from heat and add garlic, chili and sesame oil. Allow to cool and then add the lime zest and juice. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes. By this time the eggplant should have absorbed most of the olive oil in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover the pan with a lid. Let the eggplant cook for this way for about 10 minutes, checking on it and stirring once or twice. If the pan dries out add another tablespoon of water. Cook until the eggplant and its skin are soft but still retaining their shape. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook the soba noodles according to the package in salted water. When cooked through, drain and run cold water over them. Make sure the noodles are as dry as possible, blotting them on paper towels.

In a large bowl combine noodles, eggplant, edamame, mango, onion, dressing and half of the herbs. Mix well to combine. Let this sit for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Serve with the rest of the herbs.