I admit it, I spend far too long on Instagram staring at food. Far too long. But every so often you come across a super genius inspiring idea. And this is how this little dish came about. I had seen unicorn noodles all over instagram and wanted to give them a try. They are surprisingly simple to do. You just boil red cabbage in the water you intend to cook your noodles in, this turns them a bright blue/purple, and then you add lemon juice to the cooked noodles and as if by magic they turn pink. That's it. No weird wacky ingredients just a humble cabbage and lemon.
So how you may ask does this happen? Well let me take you back to GCSE chemistry. Red cabbage contains a pigment called anthocyanin. This pigment changes colour when it comes into contact with acid or an alkali. Red cabbage therefore is an indicator. Just like the litmus paper you used to use back in school chemistry classes. Squeezing acidic lemon juice all over the noodles makes them turn bright pink, while something alkaline (such as baking soda) would make them more a blue/green.
You could also make this meal with plain rice noodles, (the cabbage doesn't add anything to the flavour it just looks hella pretty.)
I paired my pretty noodles with miso roasted baby aubergines. This recipe could easily be scaled up to suit an average sized aubergine, but seriously look how cute the little ones are!
Aubergines are a great source of dietary fibre, vitamin B1, B6 and potassium. Aubergines are rich in antioxidants, specifically nasunin found in aubergine skin - which gives it its purple colour. A potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell and helping it to effectively function. Baby aubergines need less time to cook, (they're smaller duh...) have much more tender flesh and a more intense aubergine flavour. So they are little aubergine powerhouses.
I finished the dish, with spinach, spring onions, and fresh coriander to add that green punch!
For the baby aubergines
3 baby aubergines
1 teaspoon miso paste
1 tablespoon tamiri
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 fresh red chilli (finely diced)
2 garlic cloves (finely diced)
For the unicorn noodles
1/3 large red cabbage (don't throw the rest away, I've got a brilliant cabbage recipe here)
1 litre water
1 nest of rice noodles
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
To serve (no measurements for this because have as much of this as your heart desires!)
Spring onions (finely diced)
Coriander (finely diced)
1) Slice the baby aubergines in half. Then carefully score the inside flesh in a criss-cross pattern.
2) Mix together the miso paste, tamiri, sesame oil, red chilli and garlic. Then brush over the scored flesh of the aubergine.
3) Place in the oven at 200'c for 10 minutes.
4) Cut the red cabbage into large chunks, place in a saucepan and cover with 1 Litre of boiling water, bring pan to the boil. Boil the red cabbage for 7 minutes.
5) Place the rice noodles into the boiling water with the cabbage and cook for 3 minutes.
6) Remove noodles from the water and squeeze lemon juice where you want the noodles to become pink.
7) Assemble noodles, aubergine, spinach, spring onions and coriander and hey presto!