Okay, I’ve clearly been cooking a lot from my new cookbook, Plenty. But I had to try these two, too. I even got the attractive nuisance to enjoy two foods he doesn’t really like — eggplant and mango — in the same dish. Great success! Two more I’d make again. (Plus I got to use my new mortar and pestle!)
Soba noodles with eggplant and mango (from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi)
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- grated zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 2 eggplants, cut into 3/4-inch dice
- 8 to 9 oz soba noodles
- 1 large ripe mango, cut into 3/8-inch dice or into 1/4-inch-thick strips
- 1 2/3 cup basil leaves, chopped (if you can get some, use Thai basil, but much less of it)
- 2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
In a small saucepan gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to a minute, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chile and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.
Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden brown remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave there to drain.
Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. They should take 5 to 8 minutes to become tender but still al dente. Drain and rinse well under running cold water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible, then leave to dry on a dish towel.
In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion. You can now leave this aside for 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.
Cucumber salad with smashed garlic and ginger (from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi)
Serves 4-6 as a condiment or a side dish
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp Maldon sea salt
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 small (or 8 mini) cucumber (1 1/4 lbs), peeled
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
To make the dressing, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
Add the sliced red onion, mix well and leave aside to marinate for about an hour.
Place the ginger and salt in a mortar and pound well with a pestle. Add the garlic and continue pounding until it is also well crushed and broken into pieces (stop pounding before it disintegrates into a paste). Use a spatula to scrape the contents of the mortar into the bowl with the onion and dressing. Stir together.
Cut the cucumbers lengthways in half, then cut each half on an angle into 1/4-inch-thick-slices. Add the cucumber to the bowl, followed by the sesame seeds and cilantro. Stir well and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
Before serving, stir the salad again, tip out some of the liquid that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl and adjust the seasoning.