I’m used to Jerusalem being talked about but in the last few months it’s being mentioned in an additional context. Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, is the hottest cookbook of the year. It’s beautifully illustrated, tasty food and not overly complicated. I have already, and will doubtless continue, to prepare many of it’s recipes. Highly recommended to add it to your wishlist!
Before Jerusalem, Ottolenghi published a book called Plenty which also made it’s way to my bookshelf at the same time and of which I’m less enamoured as it’s quite fiddly. A few weeks back, leafing through it however, I happened on a wonderful and simple looking recipe which called for my favourite mango as one of it’s main ingredients, the others being eggplant (easy) and buckwheat noodles. There followed a frantic scramble to find the noodles through 4 local stores from big to tiny, none of which came up with the goods. Whilst I figure that wholewheat spaghetti might be a suitable substitute I waited until I found the real deal – at the shuk – where else? (Rami Levi also stock them – they were out on the day that I went).
This is a really delicious dish which can be served as a side but also as a main, with or without protein – for my money the eggplant is meaty enough to satisfy all but the most extreme of carnivores.
Most of this can be prepped ahead of time – in fact I would recommend doing so as it gives the dressing time to be absorbed. I’ve given it a very slight tweak from the original recipe by adding some ginger to the dressing but it works very well without too.
It also looks stunning and the waft of fresh herbs really add to the table!
For the dressing (make ahead of time)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
juice and grated zest of 1 lime
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1/2 chile pepper (more if you like it hot) chopped finely – red adds colour to the dish but green will suffice
1 tsp sesame oil
fresh ginger about a centimetre long, finely chopped
2 small eggplants or 1 large one, medium dice. If the eggplant is large and old you should probably salt it first – place it in a colander with a bowl underneath, salt liberally and leave for half an hour – bitter juices will pool in the bowl. Then wash of the salt. No need to do so if you have small, young eggplant (IMHO that is – others will beg to differ)
1 package of soba noodles (usually 300 gram package)
1 large mango, peel and diced medium
1/2 red onion finely sliced
Good handful of basil leaves
Good handful of coriander / cilantro leaves
Dissolve sugar and salt in the rice vinegar – warm it in a pot and stir. remove from heat and add the garlic, ginger, chile and sesame oil. Allow to cool and add the lime juice and zest. This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated.
Cook the noodles according to the instructions. Drain and if you’re making ahead of time, toss with a little neutral vegetable oil to stop them sticking.
Saute the eggplant in batches – once browned, remove from the pan and leave to drain on kitchen paper – they soak up a lot of oil.
In a decent sized bowl, combine the noodles, mango, eggplant, onion, half the herbs and dressing. Toss to coat.
Before you serve add the remaining herbs.
I like to serve on a wide plate or bowl
- Sweet Ginger Soba Noodles (simonegibson.wordpress.com)