If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now you’ll know I am particularly fond of soba noodles. Most any time I make a recipe with noodles I will find a reason to substitute soba into the mix. Well, actually it doesn’t even need to be a noodle recipe… Hot or cold, I just love their delicate texture and slight nuttiness. These wholesome buckwheat noodles so darn tasty.
This recipe was inspired by a bottle of pomegranate molasses I bought the other week. I had been eyeing it up for an eggplant moussaka recipe but was a tad non-committal at first, thinking it would be one of those ingredients that I use once for a particular dish and then leave to hog space on my refrigerator’s tiny sauce shelf for quite some time only to get repeatedly bumped off and, finally, one day smash on the floor because my ever-so-delicate sauce shelf is prone to giving way under the pressure of many once-used sauces and condiments. But then I bought it anyway.
Now I’m determined to to use it all up. So I made this here soba noodle dish for y’all. Yes soba noodles! I know, I know, i’m really branching out here folks. In all seriousness though, these noodles are damn tasty. The dressing has a good tang thanks to the pomegranate molasses – slightly sweet and a little tart. It’s got pan-fried eggplant, fresh pomegranate seeds, spring onions (scallions) and some toasted walnuts for a bit of added crunch.
Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Pomegranate Recipe
9oz / 270g soba noodles
2 eggplant, sliced into 1- to 1½-inch (2-3cm) pieces
½ cup sunflower oil or other good oil for shallow frying
seeds of one pomegranate
1 cup walnuts
2 spring onions / scallions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed in a pestle and mortar with 2 big pinches sea salt
zest + juice of one lemon
black pepper freshly ground to taste
1 fresh chili, finely chopped
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey or agave
flat leaf parsley for garnish
Cook the soba noodles in a large saucepan of salted water according to packet instructions. Be careful not to overcook – you want them to have a little bite to them. Run them under cold water immediately after draining to stop them cooking any further. Then add a small glug of oil and stir through with a fork to stop them sticking.
Heat the sunflower oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and fry the eggplant. Once golden brown remove to a colander or a tea towel, sprinkle with sea salt and leave there to drain.
To make the dressing, process in a blender the garlic, salt, pepper, zest, lemon juice, chili, brown rice vinegar, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, sesame oil and honey. Blend until you are happy with the consistency. Taste and adjust for salt.
Stir half the dressing into the noodles along with the eggplant and two thirds of the pomegranate seeds, walnuts and spring onions. Top with remaining pomegranate seeds, walnuts, spring onions and flat-leaf parsley. Add more of the dressing until you are happy with the taste.