There is a sentence in my vocabulary that I never use, in fact, consider it as a crime against everything that I stand for is “I am too busy to eat”. Till this week I never thought anyone could be so busy that they can forget to eat, that you don’t have to time to grab something quickly to satisfy your hunger, and I have been proven wrong, and now I know such things can happen.
The past two months have been busy in several ways. I was traveling and then got busy at work and in the week leading up to the Christmas holidays I have been so madly busy that I have forgotten to eat lunch. Earlier my tummy was in tune with the lunch timings and would grumble loudly in the middle of a meeting reminding me to have my lunch. But now due to my erratic schedule, my poor tummy seems to have given up. I get no groans or grumbles from it as I have completely forgotten to eat.
Now that is also a good thing as I seem to fit into my clothes well nowadays thank you, but I don’t think this is the best way to lose weight. And in the midst of all this craziness I have completely neglected my blog. My posts are far and few and when there are there is not much I do. Not that I am not inspired, but I just don’t have the energy to work on the inspiration.
As a food blogger, it is also very depressing as that means I don’t cook much either, and my blog suffers. So last night to shake myself out of the drudgery and to feel good I decided to make a beautiful looking dish for a gorgeous cookbook I brought. The book is called “Plenty” by “Yotam Ottolenghi” and is full of delicious and only cooked vegetarian recipes. As I flicked through its pages, I just knew I wanted to try each and every recipe.
And the dish that stuck me the most was the Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango. I had all the ingredients in my fridge, and the only real work that I needed to do was to fry the Eggplants and boil the noodles.
It was one of the nicest and freshest tasting noodle dish that I ever ate primarily the Mango doing the tango in my mouth and the crunchy Eggplants offering a bit of saltiness to the dish. I usually don’t enjoy eating Cold food, but this was totally worth it. My evening got much after eating this very unusual preparation, and I made a mental promise to myself to eat my lunches and never say that I was too busy to eat.
Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 6)
For the dressing
1/2 cup Rice Vinegar
1 tbsp Sugar (the original recipe asks for 3)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 fresh Red chilli, finely chopped (I used Red chilli flakes as I did not have fresh chilli)
One tsp toasted Sesame Oil
2 Garlic cloves finely chopped (DO NOT use store bought Garlic paste)
Grated zest of 1 Lemon and juice
For the noodles
8 to 9 oz Soba noodles
1 cup Sunflower oil
One big Eggplant cut into smallish chunks (the original recipe asks for 2)
One large ripe Mango cut into 3/4 inch dice or 1/4 inch thick strips
1/2 Red Onion finely chopped
1 1/2 cup Basil Leaves, washed and chopped
1 1/2 cup fresh Cilantro leaves, washed and chopped (the original recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups)
1) In a small saucepan add the Rice Vinegar, Sugar and Salt and warm gently. Let the Sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat. Add the Garlic, Chili and Sesame Oil. Once completely cool add the Lemon zest and Juice, mix well and leave aside.
2) Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow fry the Eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden Brown remove and place on a kitchen towel to drain off the excess Oil. Sprinkle with Salt and leave till you get everything ready.
3) In a large saucepan heat, some water for the noodles once boiling cook the noodles as per the instructions on the pack. Usually, they take 5 – 6 minutes to cook if the water is boiling. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Shake off as much as the water as you can and let it sit in the Colander for all the water to drain.
4) In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the Mango, Eggplant and half of the herbs and the onion. Sprinkle the dressing on top and mix gently not to break the noodles or Eggplant. You can now leave this for 1 to 2 hours and when ready to serve to add the rest of the herbs mixing everything well.
Recipe Courtesy: Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi