Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eggplant Mango Soba Noodle Salad

After scouring the kitchen for soba noodles, I fear I am out of them. Fear, because I have my stomach set on this salad. Through the magic of the web I find a recipe for soba noodles. Reviews assure me of success. I hesitate as I measure buckwheat flour into the food processor. Doubts cross my mind, but nothing venture nothing gained right?? 

Buckwheat flour has this earthy taste. Some AP flour is mixed in. I pulse as I add splashes of hot water. The dough comes together as one smooth ball. I knead the dough on a lightly floured surface as it sticks a bit. Additional sprinkling of flour helps pull the dough together. The dough yields four portions. I roll out one bit into a long thin sheet. I try to fold it over like pasta sheets but the dough is soft and sticks. I cut the sheet in half. Using a chef's knife I cut long strands like fettuccine. These strands cook for a minute in boiling water and then are shocked in an ice cold bath. Some clump together. I have to separate them with my fingers. I taste one. Not quite like the original, but will do in a pinch. I will stick to store bought in future.  

Eggplant is fried. A mango is cut. Dressing is whisked. Noodles pool on the plate. Topped with eggplant, mango and a blizzard of herbs, the salad, clothed and dressed, is ready for a fork.

Serves 4

1/2 packet Soba Noodles(2 bundles)
1-2 teaspoons Canola Oil
2 Japanese Eggplant
2 Mangoes
1 small Red Onion
1/4 cup Basil leaves
1/2 cup Parsley
1/2 cup Cilantro

2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Green Chile 
2 Garlic cloves
2 teaspoons toasted Sesame oil
1 Lime

Start with the dressing. 

Heat rice vinegar, sugar and salt over a low flame for 20-30 seconds till sugar has dissolved.

Zest and juice lime. Add to rice vinegar.

Mince chile and garlic very fine and add to vinegar.

Stir in sesame oil. Whisk and keep dressing aside.

Boil 2 quarts water.

Drop noodles into boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain well.

Heat oil in a pan.

Cut eggplant into 1 inch pieces and shallow fry till golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Peel and chop mango into 1/2 inch chunks.

Thinly slice red onion.

Roughly chop herbs.

Assemble the salad by laying the noodles on a platter. 

Scatter eggplant, mango, red onion and herbs over noodles.

Whisk dressing and drizzle over salad.

The salad looks colorful and vibrant. Yellows, browns, purples and greens compose an eye-pleasing melange. A mouthful reveals earthy noodles, soft eggplant, sweet mango and the zing of green chiles,onions. the tang of lime and the smoky flavor of sesame. The noodles are a bit chewy, thicker than the usual soba. Not quite my preference. Sometimes it's best to go with the real thing and not necessarily inventiveness.