Friday, July 01, 2016

Warm Glass Noodles, Eggplant and Soybeans

I have a crush on Yotam Ottolenghi.  I just bought his cookbook Plenty and I would like to eat every recipe. Today I tried one of his recipes for dinner: Warm glass noodles and edamame beans. Unfortunately I couldn't get some of the more exotic ingredients like tamarind paste and palm sugar, so I substitued items that I could get easily at the grocery store here in Sweden.  If you can get those items, then by all means, try the orginal sauce recipe but my sauce turned out delicious.  Among other things, I added fish sauce and a dash of HP sauce to give some depth.  Yes, HP sauce.  I know it sounds weird but it has a sweet/sour taste which I thought would mimic the missing tamarind. I also decided to throw in some eggplant to give the dish a bit more heft and because they looked so beautiful at the store.

I will be frank, this recipe, does require a lot of chopping and prep work for each ingredient.  Nothing is difficult and I actually enjoy working with these lovely ingredients.  The smell as you chop, grate, and juice are divine.  If you wanted to do this for a party, you could prep everything in advance and just fry up the noodles and warm everything through right before serving.

We ate this dish for dinner as the main and only course.  But it would be fabulous with some grilled chicken or pork, particularly if you brush some sweet soysauce on the meat before you grill. 

Serves 4
200 grams glass noodles
4 to 6 garlic cloves
1 box frozen soy beans, also called edamame (200 grams)
2 medium firm eggplants (aubergine)
4 spring onions
1 red chili (optional, chopped finely)
one bunch fresh corriander (about 3 tablespoons chopped)
one bunch fresh mint (about 3 tablespoons chopped)
one bunch fresh basil (about 3 tablespoons chopped)
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
juice of 4 limes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon HP sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fine salt

First, make the sauce.  Grate the ginger on the finest setting on your grater.  It will shred and form a pulp.  Juice the limes.  Mix the ginger, lime and all the other ingredients in a small bowl.  Stir and taste.  Adjust the sweetness to your liking.  You can add a bit more ginger or lime juice if you like.

Prepare the soybeans according to the instructions on the box, i.e. pour boiling water on the soybeans and a bit of salt in a small pot and bring the water back to boil on the stovetop.  Let the soybeans cook for 2 minutes then strain.  Set the soybeans aside.

Toast the sesame seeds by putting a pan onto the highest heat.  Pour the seeds in the pan and stir now and then, watching the whole time.  After a bit, you will see the oil coming out of the seeds.  When this starts to happen, stir often and shake the pan to move around the seeds.  Toast the seeds until they become golden.  Be careful as they easily burn.  Pour the seeds into a bowl and set aside.

Prepare the glass noodles according to the instructions on the packet, i.e. put the noodles into a bowl.  Pour boiling water over the noodles.  Put a lid on the bowl.  Let sit for 2 to 5 minutes (depending on what it says on the packet), then drain in a colander. Set noodles aside.  Don't worry that the noodles clump together. They will separate later in the sauce.

Chop all the herbs, chili, and the spring onions finely.  Set aside.  

Chop the aubergine into nice bite sized pieces.  In a frying pan on medium high heat, pour in a generous splash of olive oil.  When hot, pour in the aubergine, as many as will fit in one layer on the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and toss to cover each piece in oil.  Fry until golden brown and tender, tossing frequently. Fry the remaining egg plant in batches in the same manner.  Set aside.

Take each garlic clove and semi-gently smash it with a knife.  Peel off the skin.  

Line up all your ingredients next to the stove and put out a large bowl or platter to hold the final dish.  

Put two tablespoons olive oil in a medium hot pan.  Throw in the garlic.  Fry the garlic, turning frequently until it is nice and golden. Do not let the garlic burn or it will become bitter. Throw the noodles over the oil and then pour in the sauce.  Toss the noodles with tongs until the sauce fully coats all the noodles.  Throw on the soybeans and eggplant and toss until everything is heated through.

Pour the noodles onto your serving dish.  Sprinkle with herbs, spring onion, and sesame seeds.  Toss again with the tongs and serve warm.  Leftovers would probably taste great cold but I have never had any...

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