This is a beautiful use of butternut, where it is prepared tataki. This method is usually reserved for non-veg items, but can be used with vegetables. It is a Japanese method where the vegetable is charred over a hot flame or on a pan, and then marinated in vinegar and ginger. Here the butternut is then combined with noodles and herbs for a delicious dish.
The salad is amazing. The sweet sourness of the dressing, the crunch of the snowpeas and radish, the softness of the noodles, the sweet munchiness of the pumpkin, the heat of the chilli and bite of the radish, the texture of the sesame seeds. Beautiful.
This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
Thanks to the chargrilling, the butternut squash in this meal of a salad tastes both fresh and smoky at the same time.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Similar dishes include Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango, Soba Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Sesame Seed, Broth and Dipping Sauce for Japanese Noodles, Chargrilled Butternut with Labneh, and Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad.
Browse all of our Noodle dishes and all of our Pumpkin recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.
Butternut Tataki with Udon Noodles
120ml rice vinegar
1.5 Tblspn caster sugar
25g ginger, peeled and cut into julienne strips
0.75 tspn salt
1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into thin, 0.5cm‑wide x 5cm-long batons
2.5 Tblspn peanut oil
160g dry udon or other Chinese or Japanese noodles
75g radishes, thinly sliced
50g snowpeas, cut into julienne strips
3 baby or Lebanese cucumbers, unpeeled, quartered and cut into julienne strips
2 mild red chillies, deseeded and cut into julienne strips
20g baby shiso leaves (or use baby cress or other small leaf herb)
0.5 tspn sesame oil
1.5 tspn black sesame seeds (or white, if unavailable)
10g picked coriander leaves
Gently heat the vinegar, sugar, ginger and salt in a small saucepan, stirring so the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Put a ridged griddle pan on a high heat. While the pan is heating up, toss the butternut batons in the peanut oil. Turn down the heat under the griddle to medium-high and chargrill the butternut in batches for about four minutes each, turning so that all sides get grilled. Transfer to a large bowl, pour over half the dressing while the batons are still hot and set aside to cool, gently stirring from time to time.
Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for six to seven minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water and set aside to dry.
Add the dry noodles to the butternut squash bowl, followed by all the remaining ingredients. Stir gently, transfer to a serving plate, spoon on the remaining dressing and serve.