Yotam Ottolenghi’s noodle recipes for post-Christmas comfort | Vegetables (2024)

Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

Forget turkey sandwiches. The food I’ll be craving after the Christmas feast will feature noodles in a big way

Yotam Ottolenghi

Sat 24 Dec 2016 09.00 GMT

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Even people who love new recipe ideas hit saturation point at some time in the year. And that’s usually about now. We spend the weeks leading up to Christmas entertaining all the different possibilities being shared left, right and centre, and then, right at the last minute, remember that the traditional festive meal is nothing more than a big roast dinner with all sorts of tasty trimmings. That’s when we realise that Christmas will still happen even if we don’t transform into an entirely different cook from the one we are the rest of the year.

When you put on your apron to get ready for tomorrow’s main event, don’t forget that everyone prefers a regular meal and a chilled-out host to some elaborate feast and a stressed-out cook. If you cook what you love to eat and eat what you love to cook, your day will be a happy one. It’s this way of thinking that informs so much of what I cook, eat and share with family and friends all year round. It’s also why I’m as likely to be slurping on a bowl of noodles on Boxing Day as tucking into yet another turkey sandwich or chunk of stilton. Today’s recipes are all about the ingredients I’ll be craving over the next week.

Green tea noodles with lime and cardamom salsa, avocado and egg

I’ll happily eat this at any time of day, and especially for a late weekend breakfast. You can get green tea soba noodles from large supermarkets and Asian food stores; regular soba noodles, which are even more widely available, are a good alternative.

For the perfect boiled egg, with a firm white and runny yolk, bring a medium pot of water to a boil on a high heat. Carefully lower in four room-temperature eggs (if your eggs are fridge-cold, they’ll take longer to cook) and leave to bubble away for six minutes. Lift out the eggs and transfer to a bowl in the sink and leave under cold running water for a minute or two, to halt the cooking process. Just before serving, peel off the shell and cut or tear the egg in half. Serves four.

200g green tea soba noodles (or regular soba)
30g basil leaves, picked and roughly chopped
30g coriander leaves, picked and roughly chopped
70g pistachio kernels, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
½ tsp ground cardamom
3 limes – finely grate one (to get ½ tsp zest), squeeze another (to get 3 tbsp juice) and cut the third into quarters
3 tbsp groundnut oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 ripe avocados, cut into 0.5cm slices
4 eggs, soft-boiled (see introduction)
¼ tsp nigella seeds

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet (cooking times vary from brand to brand), then refresh under cold water and transfer to a colander to drain.

Put the basil, coriander, pistachios, cardamom, lime zest, lime juice, oil, garlic, chilli and half a teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Mix to combine, then add the noodles and divide between four bowls. Arrange the avocado slices on top of each serving, and top with two egg halves (peel and cut them just before serving). Finish with a sprinkle of nigella seeds, and serve each portion with a wedge of lime.

Rice noodle salad with cucumber and poppy seeds

It’s easy to get stuck in our ways with apples. A granny smith is sweet and tart enough to work here, but why not try something new for a change? My local grocer, Parkway Greens in Camden, gets some of its apples from Brogdale in Kent, home of the National Fruit Collection, and I recently munched my way through eight varieties I’d never tried before. They were as delicious and different from each other as bottles in a mixed case of wine. Serves six to eight.

60ml cider vinegar
30g caster sugar
1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
5cm piece ginger, peeled and julienned
150g flat rice noodles, broken into roughly 15cm pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
200g frozen edamame, quickly blanched, drained and dried
1 sweet, sharp apple, cored and cut into 2mm-thick wedges
2 large 400g cucumbers, cut in half lengthways, seeds scooped out and flesh cut into long, thin strips
2 red chillies, deseeded and julienned
10g mint leaves, roughly shredded
10g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp poppy seeds
Salt and black pepper

Put the vinegar, sugar and 60ml water in a small saucepan on a high heat. Bring to a boil, stir until the sugar has dissolved, then cook for two minutes, until the liquid has reduced by a third. Put the onion and ginger in a small bowl, pour over the hot liquid and set aside for an hour, until the vegetables have softened.

Put the noodles in a large bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Set aside for 10-15 minutes, until the noodles are soft, then drain and put in a large bowl. Toss with a tablespoon of oil and leave to cool.

Add all the other ingredients to the noodles, including the pickled onion and ginger, and their pickling juices, and season with a teaspoon and a half of salt and plenty of black pepper. Toss and serve at once.

Black rice noodles and mango salad with soy roast salmon

Lots of alternatives here, if you want: use regular basil if you can’t find Thai basil (although a lot of supermarkets do sell it) and if you can’t get hold of a green mango, use a regular mango instead. You don’t want it too ripe and sweet, though – green mangoes have a welcome tartness – and you might want to reduce the sugar in the dressing down to 20 grams. The black noodles look great against the salmon but, again, these can be replaced with whatever you can find: udon and soba both work well as substitutes. If you have a mandolin, then now is the time to use it for the vegetables. If you don’t, keep a lookout in the post-Christmas sales. Serves four.

3 tbsp rice vinegar
30g caster sugar
¼ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
¾ tsp fish sauce
4 salmon fillets (about 130g each), skin on and boneless

For the salad
85g black rice noodles (or soba, udon, etc, if you can’t find black ones)
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
4cm piece ginger, peeled and julienned
150g beansprouts
2 small shallots, peeled and finely sliced
1 green mango (or a not-too-ripe regular mango), peeled, stoned, and flesh cut into julienne strips
10g Thai basil leaves
10g mint leaves
10g coriander leaves
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (white and black, ideally), plus 2 tsp extra, to serve

For the dressing
2 tbsp groundnut oil
3 tbsp lime juice, plus 1 lime, quartered, to serve
1 tbsp mirin

Put the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan on a high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then leave to boil for two minutes, until you’re left with a thick syrup. Take off the heat and stir in the chilli, half a teaspoon of sesame oil, and the soy and fish sauces. Put the salmon fillets in a bowl and pour this mixture all over them, then add an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, turn to coat the fish and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Mix all the dressing ingredients with the remaining half-teaspoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of salt, and put to one side.

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Half-fill a medium saucepan with water, bring to a boil, then cook the noodles for four to five minutes (or according to the instructions). Drain, refresh under cold water to stop the noodles cooking more, drain again and put in a large bowl with the other salad ingredients.

Put the salmon fillets skin side down in a small baking dish (about 20cm x 30cm), so they fit snugly, pour over the marinade and roast for 12 minutes, basting the fish twice, until caramelised and cooked, but still a little pink in the middle. Remove and keep warm.

Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Divide between four shallow bowls and top each serving with a warm salmon fillet, skin side down, and a drizzle of the cooking juices. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds and serve with a lime wedge.

• Yotam Ottolenghi is chef/patron of Ottolenghi and Nopi in London.


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