Every time we make a recipe from Ottolenghi’s cookbook ‘Plenty’, we are thrilled with how it turns out. The rich smokiness of the eggplant and tofu, the spicy sweet tang of the dressing, and the hearty noodles, all combine to make this a satisfying meal. We made this recipe and packed it up for a week of lunches (it seems to get better as it sits). This is also going to be our go-to recipe for potlucks and brunches.
Make the Dressing In a small saucepan, warm 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt, until the sugar dissolves (about a minute). Remove from the heat and add 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1/2 fresh red chile (finely chopped) and 1 tsp toasted sesame oil.
After the dressing cools, add the zest and juice of 1 lime. Look at how gorgeous that is.
Make the Salad Dice up 2 eggplants into 3/4 inch squares. Heat up sunflower or vegetable oil in a large pan (we used a wok) and fry the eggplant in three or four bathes. As each batch turns golden brown, remove them to a colander, sprinkle them with salt, and let them drain.
We used the same wok to fry up a block of firm tofu, diced into cubes about the same size as the eggplant.
Cook the soba noodles in boiling water, per the package directions. Keep them al dente. Drain, and rinse them up cold water, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the noodles with the dressing, eggplant, 1 large ripe mango (diced or cut into strips), 1 2/3 cup chopped basil leaves (or Thai basil if you can get it, and use a lot less), 2 1/2 cups chopped cilantro leaves, and 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced.
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 1/2 fresh red chile (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2 eggplants (in 3/4 inch dice)
- vegetable or sunflower oil
- firm tofu (if you’d like to add a bit more protein and substance)
- 1 package soba noodles
- 1 large ripe mango (diced or cut into strips)
- 1 2/3 cup chopped basil leaves (or Thai basil, and use a lot less)
- 2 1/2 cups chopped cilantro leaves
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
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