janet @ the taste space

Grilled Eggplant and Mango Noodle Salad with a Sweet Chili Dressing

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on August 24, 2011 at 6:31 AM

The topic of the best mango can bring up heated discussions.

My allegiance had originally been for the Indian Alphonso mango, but a ripe Mexican Ataulfo was a more economical standby that had a longer season.

While travelling in Morocco, I met a cute British couple that originally hailed from Pakistan. They urged me to try Pakistani mangoes, as they were even better than those from India (is there always such fierce rivalry between India and Pakistan?). To be honest, I had never even seen Pakistani mangoes, but I knew that Bestwin routinely carried an assortment of mangoes, many of which I hadn’t yet tried.

Last week, my co-worker, again, urged me to try Pakistani mangoes. They are nearing the end of the season and she assured me I wouldn’t be disappointed.

As it turned out, when I did my weekly trip to Sunny’s, they had small cases of honey mangoes (chok anon) from Pakistan. Just like Alphonso mangoes, they are definitely a splurge purchase.

Let me assure you, though, that these are some nice mangoes. Creamy and sweet, yet with a subtle tanginess, that mellows the sweetness. They didn’t seem to have as much stringiness near the pit, either.

Personally, I am content with any ripe mango, but I may concede that Pakistani mangoes reign in my kitchen. It is that tanginess that I appreciated the most, adding that extra level of complexity. I may no longer have that sweet tooth I used to, it seems, although these are still uber sweet mangoes.  Enjoy them unadorned, or use them in a salad such as this (any ripe, sweet mango will do, though).

The original salad with eggplant, mango and soba noodles is compliments of Ottolenghi, but I took it in my own direction. Instead of pan-frying the eggplant in gobs of oil, I Rob offered to grill it on the barbecue (alongside his perogies, at that!). This allowed me to use much less oil, with the addition of a soft smokiness to the dish. Some grilled asparagus was thrown in as well, for good measure. To make this a more substantial dish, I took Ottolenghi’s advice to add fried tofu, which I had marinated briefly in ponzu sauce and sesame oil. I also opted to use half of the sweet-chili dressing, since it seemed like a lot. And finally, while soba noodles would be lovely, I chose to spiralize two zucchinis as my noodle base. Don’t worry, I left the mango in there, and even used 2 honey mangos for the dish. 😉

The result was a wonderful merriment of flavours. You have the grilled, creamy, smoky eggplant pairing beautifully with the sweet, tangy mango with a slightly spicy sauce, all overtop zucchini noodles. The tofu added a nice, satisfying crunch.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Honeybee of The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybee, to this month’s Healing Foods featuring zucchini, and to Ricki’s Summer Wellness Weekends and to this month’s Simple and in Season.

Grilled Eggplant and Mango Noodle Salad with a Sweet Chili Dressing

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp agave or honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
zest and juice from 1 lime

340g extra firm tofu, cubed
1 tbsp soy sauce or ponzu sauce (I used the latter but not sure it made a difference)
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

3/4 lb Asian eggplant (around 2), sliced lengthwise into 1.5-cm strips
3/4 lb asparagus, trimmed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes, then drained
1 large or 2 small mangoes, cubed
40g basil, chopped (large bunch)
40g cilantro, chopped (small bunch)

2 zucchini, spiralized into noodles (or use 8oz soba noodles)

1. Combine the rice vinegar, agave, salt, garlic, chili flakes, toasted sesame oil, lime zest and juice. Stir and set aside.

2. Marinate your cubed tofu with the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil for 5 minutes or so. When ready, add tofu to a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat and cook until nicely brown on most sides. This could take 10-15 minutes. Stir often towards the end. Set side.

3. If you had big eggplants, definitely salt your eggplant for 30 minutes or so. The smaller Asian ones don’t need it. If salting, after salting, rinse off the salt and drain off excess water. Drizzle with a bit of oil and grill on BBQ for roughly 5 minutes on each side, until nice and soft. Chop into chunks when slightly cooled.

4. Drizzle asparagus with a bit of oil, salt and pepper and grill on BBQ for roughly 5-10 minutes, until tender but still al dente. Chop into 2-cm chunks when cooled.

5. To assemble the salad, toss together the grilled eggplant and asparagus, onion, mango, basil, cilantro and the dressing. Spoon overtop the zucchini noodles and top with the pan-fried tofu. Keep the tofu separate until serving, else it will become soggy.

Serves 4-6.

  1. this looks sooo yummy!

  2. Those mangoes with the smokey grill flavor from the eggplant must have be so good! I need to get a spiralizer – my peeler isn’t cutting it (put intended). 🙂

  3. I love all the flavors in this dish; what a great combination.

  4. This looks so delicious! I love the idea of combining mango with grilled eggplant and tofu!

  5. Yum, this salad looks absolutely fantastic! Love all the fresh flavors. 🙂

  6. I’ve been DYING to make this dish! I mean, it has two of my most favorite things on this earth – mango and eggplant – and it’s a pasta dish – perfect for carb loading! I love that you put it on top of zucchini noodles…I totally need a spiralizer!

  7. What a wonderful dish. I can’t wait to try it. Being in Nova Scotia, I’m not sure I can find Pakistani mangos. but I’ll certainly be on the lookout. Thanks for sharing this with Presto Pasta Nights.

  8. What a luscious dish. I am such a mango novice! And I’m pretty much happy with any kind. 🙂 You’re so lucky that you live near stores where you can get so many different ingredients, though! And thanks for submitting this to WW this week!

  9. […] week, my belly needed a rest. After a few Ottolenghi and Cotter recipes, literally bursting with flavour, as well as a potluck dinner that left me in […]

  10. OK, I think I just found my next spiralizer zucchini noodle use. 😉 This looks fabulous–I love all of the ingredients. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays. 😉

  11. This looks like it’s just right up my alley, yum. May have to try it with green tea soba, thanks for the wonderful idea.

  12. Really fresh and in-season, thank for entering into Simple and in Season. Ren

  13. Grilled perogies!! I want to know more about those haha. Everything about this salad sounds amazing. It almost makes me want to get a BBQ…

    • We make our own homemade perogies, Ashley.. Cook them, then freeze them. Usually we boil them or fry them from frozen… but this time, Rob plopped them right onto the barbecue! My Dad gave him the tip. He really seemed to enjoy them. 🙂

  14. […] Jude from A Trifle Rushed made a Blackberry and Apple Jam following a little unexpected fruit picking trip in Breton. This is a lovely recipe, simple and perfectly seasonal! Jenny over at Jennifer’s Journal in Australia made Dolma (Stuffed Vine Leaves) which I have never made myself before so would love to try. Jenny picked her own vine leaves to make them! Thank so much for your entry. Katie from Katie’s Cakes made these adorable little Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes. My little girl turns two soon so I will be making these for her party. Helen from Fuss Free Flavours made Celery and Lentil Soup using up the abundance of celery from her fruit and vegetable Co-Op. I could actually just do with a bowl of this… Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen made a bang-on-season Almond and Plum Tart with Plum Syrup. Plums are my ultimate favourite so look out for lots more plum recipes in September too. I am always looking for interesting plum recipes and this one is super. Shaheen also made this tasty Rhubarb and Rose Bread pairing two wonderful ingredients – rhubarb and rose.  Another unusual recipe, this time Cooking in Westchester joined in and made Palak Paneer Enchiladas made with in-season peppers, spinach and tomatoes from her garden and local farmer’s market. Next, I did find the time to experiment with some new Knorr herby stock pots and made a very speedy Quick Chicken Soup with Seasonal Vegetables. I also went all-out and made these Provencal Lavender and Lemon Cheesecakes using some ingredients sent to me by the tourist board of Vacluse-En-Provence in France. Mel from Sharky Oven Gloves made a Summer Fruits Crumble (using her shiny new Joseph and Joseph bows from her June winning Simple and in Season entry!)  Sadly, the crumble topping got burnt but still, the lovely seasonal berries underneath were apparently very tasty! This next entry was a beauty, a lovely Summer Squash Orzo recipe from Dancing Veggies for Labor Day. Two of my favourite combinations – orzo and zucchini with these beautiful yellow squash too. Yay, The Taste Space team joined in again, first off with this Ottolenghi inspired Grilled Eggplant and Mango Noodle Salad. […]

  15. […] I have posted a few eggplant dishes, I have never microwaved it like I did here. It was a neat way to partially cook it […]

  16. […] kitchen! I don’t cook with tofu that often, and if I do, it is usually incorporated into my meal. I’ve made a few stand-alone tofu recipes, and that was even before I went vegan. […]

  17. […] Hazelnuts and Mint – Sea Weeds and Greens Salad (aka Kelp Noodles with Wakame and Radish Sprouts) – Grilled Eggplant and Mango Noodle Salad with a Sweet Chili Dressing – Cabbage and Kohlrabi Salad – Ultimate Winter Couscous – Socca […]

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  19. Great recipe! I’ve just posted my dish inspired by Honestly Healthy for Life book, and posted a link to your blog to inspire people even more:)

  20. […] Hazelnuts and Mint – Sea Weeds and Greens Salad (aka Kelp Noodles with Wakame and Radish Sprouts) – Grilled Eggplant and Mango Noodle Salad with a Sweet Chili Dressing – Cabbage and Kohlrabi Salad – Ultimate Winter Couscous – Socca […]

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