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Soba Noodles with Eggplant, Tofu, and Peach
Issue 66: A vegan bowl that's bright, earthy, and fresh. The combo sounds weird but it's awesome, I swear.
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At first glance, this recipe reads a bit confused: eggplant, peaches, and tofu are not normally things I’d put together. But with a spicy citrus dressing and a heavy sear on the eggplant and tofu, this bowl comes together for a dish that’s equal parts bright, earthy, and fresh. It’s something I like to make each summer when eggplants and peaches are in season, and it’s a great vegan meal that doesn’t miss the meat.
When I shared this recipe with a few friends, they were pretty skeptical about the presence of peaches. I think they’re great here, but you can certainly omit.
Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Peach
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 fresh red chili, finely chopped or 1 tsp chili powder (I like gochugaru)
2 tsps sesame oil
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 small eggplants, cut in half
1 ripe peach, sliced
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 block tofu cut into 4 slices
2 bundles soba noodles
Neutral oil, for cooking
In a small saucepan, gently warm the vinegar, sugar, and salt for about 1-2 minutes, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chili, and sesame oil. Let cool and add the lime juice and zest.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Cover the pan with a shallow layer of cooking oil and shallow-fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the oil, season with salt, and let drain.
Add the tofu to the same cooking oil and shallow-fry until golden brown. Remove from the oil, season with salt, and let drain.
Cook the noodles in heavily salted water until al dente, about 4-7 minutes depending on the package. Drain and quickly rinse under cold water. Mix the warm noodles with about 1/3 of the liquid part of the dressing, toss with about half the herbs, then plate in two bowls.
Arrange the tofu, eggplant, shallot, and peach between each bowl. Drizzle both bowls with remaining dressing (liquid and garlic) and top with remaining herbs.