Ottolenghi Soba Noodles with Aubergine and Mango Recipe
Spicy brown sugar and lime-sauced soba noodles with tofu, eggplant, mango and lots of herbs. Inspired by a rare mango find, and a recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook, Plenty.
Sunday afternoons are best when they're lazy. There are different varieties of lazy Sundays, of course, but I have two favorites in particular. There's the lounge around the house, don't bother brushing your hair kind. And there's the loll around in the sunshine, preferably on a beach or lawn, variety. I got together with my family for the latter last week - seven of us, polliwogs and picnic tables, donkeys and dahlias, fish ponds, and even a turtle or two. Lunch?...
I stumbled on California-grown mangoes a few days prior. Fragrant, not-at-all fibrous, sweet Keitt mangoes. A rare sight. I snatched one up immediately and it was my intention to finally make Yotam Ottolenghi's Soba Noodles with Aubergine and Mango from Plenty, I've had it bookmarked forever. But, it being a lazy Sunday and all...I'm just going to say it. I overslept. We ended up picking up deli sandwiches on the way out of town instead. The good news is I had all the ingredients prepped for the soba noodles when we arrived back home. So these herb-showered, spicy brown-sugar and lime sauced noodles went on the menu for dinner.
A bit of a heads up - there's a good amount of preparation involved in this recipe. The upside is that you can do much of it ahead of time if you like. And you can easily double or triple the recipe for meals throughout the week. I'll call out anything you can do ahead of time in the head notes down below, and suggest a couple substitutions for any mango-deprived cooks out there.
Those of you heading to Rome - I know there were a number of you. I haven't forgotten. I'm almost done writing up my favorite spots. I'll hopefully post the list sometime in the next few days.
For now, I'll leave you with a short list of Ottolenghi-related links:
- Yotam Ottolenghi's new cookbook, Plenty
- Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
- Ottolenghi Website
- Ottolenghi blog
- Yotam Ottolenghi's 'The New Vegetarian' column on the Guardian
Ottolenghi Soba Noodles
I made some tweaks to Yotam's recipe based on what I had on hand - reflected in the recipe below. As far as substitutions go - I can imagine making a winter squash version, using squash in place of the mango, and perhaps an apple cider vinegar in place of the brown rice vinegar. I'd bet a roasted delicata squash version would be amazing. Along with deeply caramelized sauteed apples or pears? Even better. See where I'm going with this?
If you want to prep certain components in advance, you can make the dressing up to a few days ahead of time. You can also cook the soba noodles in advance, cut the mango, grill/saute the tofu, and slice the onions. I'd cook the eggplant and chop the herbs just before serving.
1/2 cup / 120 ml brown rice vinegar
scant 1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 40 g fine-grain natural cane sugar or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1/2 fresh red chile, minced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
grated zest and juice of one lime
1/3 cup / 80 ml sunflower oil or olive oil
1 medium eggplant/aubergine 3/4 lb / 12 oz, cut into 1/2-inch / 1cm chunks
8 ounces / 225g dried soba noodles
1 large ripe mango, cut into small chunks
8 ounces grilled or pan-fried tofu, cut into tiny cubes
1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
a handful of basil leaves, slivered
a handful of fresh cilantro / coriander, chopped
While you are prepping the rest of the ingredients bring a large pot of water to a boil.
In the meantime, make the dressing by combining the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for up to 1 minute, or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the garlic, red pepper flakes or chile, and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.
Heat the sunflower oil in a large skillet and shallow fry the eggplant/aubergine in three batches, until deeply golden. Transfer to a large plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt.
Cook the soba noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, per package instructions, or until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible, then leave to dry in the colander or on a tea towel. If you're not using the noodles soon, toss with a tiny splash of olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
In a large mixing bowl toss the noodles the dressing, mango, tofu, eggplant, onions, and most of the herbs. You can now set this aside for an hour or two before serving topped with the remaining herbs.
Slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Soba Noodles with Aubergine and Mango from Plenty.
Prep time: 15 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes
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I'm for any lazy Sunday that involves farm animals -- goats are my preference. As for mangoes, they don't grow where I live and as much as I deeply need the changing of the seasons, now and then I think it wouldn't be a bad trade-off if I could have local mangoes and avocadoes instead. I've been a fan of Ottolenghi's since you reviewed the first book, so thanks for this!
I loved the photos in this post! They are luminous, and I love this interesting combo of Soba and Eggplant, never would have put those two together but I bet it's great.
One look and drooling! can believe how animal free meals are becoming what tempts me most!
Wow, the photographs on your blog always fascinate me! Please tell me what tool do you use 'cos I'm really falling in love with this effect.
Plenty is worth buying fr this recipe alone! I made it with roasted eggplants instead of frying (my oven was on anyway and thought I could hit two birds with one stone) and it was delicious, too.
I have a major addiction to The New Vegetarian column. Now it looks like I have to go buy Plenty! Thanks for the inspiration!
I am going to go with substituting apples or pears because I am that rare person who doesn't care for mangoes. I know, gasp! My daughter will love this because she loves mangoes and is experimenting with tofu lately.
I just subscribed to The New Vegetarian column yesterday! What a coincidence. He seems to be full of great ideas.
For Caffettiera, The soapiness is probably from the coriander. It's the same plant as cilantro, which some people think tastes like soap or rotting garbage. I just leave it out of all recipes, or substitute it with another green herb.
Yay for both kinds of lazy sundays!
this noodle dish looks light, fresh, and delicious! i love soba noodles, and this is a great way to use them!
The combination of mango and coriander leaves is very tropical and reminiscent of my childhood fruit chutneys. Though I love the taste of fried foods, I try to avoid it as much as possible. I think the eggplant would cook in 10-15 mins in oiled and salted lightly then baked at 200C.
Oh I've never seen anything like this - looks wonderful!
i think I'll give a try to the suggested pumpkin substitution quite soon. Not many ripe mangoes in Germany now, while pumpkin is now fantastic. I loved this recipe in the original version, but I found it very summery so I kind of forgot about it now that we go towards winter. Weirdly enough, the recipe was a huge hit with anyone except my dad, who claimed it tasted 'soapy'.
The combination of mango and coriander is very tropical, a bit like fresh fruit chutneys from my childhood. Though I love the taste of fried foods, I try to stay away from even shallow frying. The eggplant could be lightly oiled and salted and baked in the oven. Cut up as small as 1cm cubes they'd only take 10-15 mins at 200C!
Beautiful photographs. I am especially taken by the donkey. Ok...now I'll go back and read the recipe :)
What a interesting combination of ingredients - eggplant, mango. The textures must be wonderful.
ummm... Soba aren't traditionally shaped like linguini. Did you substitute or what? HS: Nope Marten, those are soba. You can find them in different shapes here.
Ha, we are soul foodies! I had 30 minutes to kill yesterday and ended up in a little bookshop in Grey Lynn, thumbing through this book. And you wouldn't believe it - this recipe was the first to catch my eye! I love the colours and the flavours. Needless to say I bought the book and have bookmarked this recipe too. I like your addition of tofu too...
I had once similar type of noodle salad in Aqui. I am surprised you were to find ripe mango this time. Even though it is bit time consuming to prepare, the picture is all worth it to make it. Thanks.
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