Soba Noodle Salad with Eggplant and Mango
A mango, in my opinion, is like a ray of summery sunshine, begging to be devoured. On the weekend, I bought my first mango of the season - always a special occasion!
As I walked home from the store I got to thinking that a). it's high time I got back into my kitchen and started flexing my creative muscle (before it disappears entirely) and b). I should make this delicious juicy fruit the hero of a swanky new dish. (I also got to thinking that c). I should set my mind to some weeding but meh, there's plenty of time for that)
This recipe has been inspired by the insanely clever and inspirational Yotam Ottolenghi, adjusted for a slightly healthier take for the THI community. I've included some optional additions to inspire your own creativity, but rest assured this gluten free salad is a flavour sensation, just as it is.
Recipe note: you can go nuts with the herbs, don't be scared! Small or large bunch, this salad is better the more you add.
Serves 4 as a substantial side dish, 3 as a main.
For the dressing:
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 long red chilli, finely chopped (1/2 if you prefer your heat mild)
1 lime - juice and grated zest
For the salad:
250g soba (buckwheat) noodles
3 tablespoons of coconut oil, plus more if necessary
1 ripe mango, cut into slices or 1cm cubes
1 bunch basil, leaves removed, roughly chopped
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped (leaves and stems)
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
Optional extras (for a more substantial main).
Coconut oil fried firm tofu (as per photo)
2-3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
To make the dressing:
Combine the vinegar, coconut sugar and salt in a small saucepan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, sesame oil and chilli. Once cooled, add the lime juice and zest.
Heat a large frying pan on medium to high heat. Once hot add the coconut oil and allow to heat. Then, depending on the size of your pan, cook the eggplant in a couple of batches until browned. You may need to add a little more coconut oil if cooking in batches. Put the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and allow it to drain.
To make the salad:
Heat a pot of salted water until boiling on the stove and cook the soba noodles for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't cook for too long, you want a lovely chew. Drain and rinse well under cold water, until it runs clear. Leave to drain well.
Grab a mixing bowl and combine the noodles with the mango, eggplant, dressing, onion and three quarters of the herbs. Set the dish aside for at least an hour to give the noodles time to marinade in the delicious sauce. Once you're ready to serve, mix through the rest of the rest herbs.
Top with coconut oil fried tofu or grilled prawns for a lovely protein boost.
Now go away and devour and please, report back and tell me just how much your taste buds loved it!
Now, if you'd like some more fresh salad ideas, how about trying this Ocean Trout with Warm Fennel, Kale and Chickpea Salad or this Quinoa Salad with Zucchini, Peas and Preserved Lemon for something more substantial, or this Spring Vegetable Quinoa Salad?