Sweet and sour is a classic pairing in many parts of Asia. Rhubarb is a surprising addition to this Japanese inspired salad of miso-roasted eggplant and soba noodles, but the results are vibrant and simply beautiful.
2 tbsp brown miso
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp water
4 long Japanese eggplants cut in half lengthways
150g soba noodles
FOR THE SAUCE:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1/3 cup finely chopped spring onion
1½ cups fresh rhubarb, cut in a ½ cm cubes
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup Lebanese cucumber, cut into ½ cubes
3 tbsp peanuts, roughly chopped
Micro herbs, to serve
Preheat oven to 200C.
In a small bowl, combine miso, olive oil and water and mix well until smooth.
Place the eggplant halves, cut side up, on a baking tray lined with baking paper and using a pastry brush, coat the cut sides of the eggplant with the miso mixture. Place the tray into the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.
To cook the soba noodles, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the noddles and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4-6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent the noodles from clumping.
For the rhubarb salsa, heat olive in a saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and onions and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add rhubarb, honey, chilli, soy sauce and water and stir. Cook on a low-medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the rhubarb has softened and sweetened. Remove from the heat and stir in cucumber.
To serve, lay the noodles over the top of the roasted eggplant, and then top with the rhubarb salsa and a scattering of peanuts and herbs.