Filipino & Japanese Join Forces; Philippine Eggplant, Manila Mango & Soba Noodles
By Karena Apollonya Ebora Higgins
Did any of you watch “the Great Raid”? OMG, its so good. Lots of folks slept on this flick, but if you want to watch a great movie with Benjamin Bratt, James Franco, a nostalgic depiction of the city of Manila and Filipinos kicking ass in World War II, peep it. The Americans and Filipinos don’t mesh well with the Japanese in the film, but hopefully we’ve moved on. In this recipe, we have. In fact, we’ve joined food forces. What better way to get all kumbaya than with eats? Fruity, creamy, Manila mangoes and musky grilled Philippine eggplant are mixed with Japanese Soba Noodles and gently tossed in sweet and spicy vinegar. The dish is colorful and harmonious. The final touches of fresh and fragrant bright green cilantro and parsley are EVERYTHING. It is balanced and beautiful, like life should be. MAKE FOOD, NOT WAR.
1/2 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves
1/2 fresh chili, finely chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
grated zest and juice of lime
1 cup sunflower oil
3 Philippine eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
8-9 oz soba noodles
2 ripe Manila mangoes, cut and diced
2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup chopped parsley
1/2 red onion thinly chopped.
In small saucepan gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to 1 minute, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chile and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.
Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden brown remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave there to drain.
Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. They should take 5-8 minutes to become tender, but still al dente. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Shake off as much of the exess water as possible, then leave to dry on a dish towel.
In mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion. You can leave this aside for 1-2 hours. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl. Meant to be served cold.