Aubergine, black bean, spinach and ginger rice noodles with roast cod and tomatoes

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Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

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Like all stir-fries, this dish relies on being totally prepared before you begin cooking. You’ll need all the ingredients chopped, soaked and ready to go. It’s important to have the fish cooking before you heat your wok, as once the noodles and vegetables are cooked, you’ll want to serve them straight away. Here I use cod – but you can use whatever fish you fancy Tamari is a high-quality Japanese wheat-free soy sauce, so, combined with the rice noodles, this dish is a welcome treat to people with a wheat allergy. A large wok is needed to make this easily; if you only have a small one, cook things in two batches.


  • 200 g dried rice noodles
  • 4 thickish pieces of cod fillet, each about 170g, scales and bones removed
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese salted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (or use demerara)
  • 4 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (groundnut and avocado oils work well in the wok)
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 fingers of ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 1 red chilli, sliced (more or less to taste, but keep the seeds in)
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach


Soak the noodles in plenty of very warm water for at least 20 minutes. Season the cod on both sides and leave to come to room temperature.

Cut the tomatoes in half lengthways, then cut each half into 3 wedges. Using a thin sharp knife, cut the seeds from them and chop these seedy bits roughly and put in a bowl. Place the tomato pieces in another bowl.

To the bowl with the tomato seeds, add the black beans, sugar, tamari, lime juice and sesame oil, and mix together.

Remove the stalks from the aubergines, then cut at an angle of 45° into 5mm slices. Lay these on top of each other and cut into julienne, then put in a bowl. Cut the carrot the same way and place in another bowl.

Take a heavy-based pan (ideally non-stick) which has a tight-fitting lid and heat it with the lid off. Add a tablespoon of the vegetable oil and place the cod in it, skin side down. Cook for 2 minutes on a medium-high heat. Scatter the tomato pieces over and around the cod, and put the lid on. Turn the heat down and cook until the fish is medium-rare (after about 5 minutes, prise the flesh apart a little – it should be translucent in the middle). Take the lid off the pan and remove from the heat.

At the point when you’ve got the tomatoes in and the lid on the fish pan, also place the wok on the heat and add a tablespoon of oil together with the garlic, ginger and chilli, and cook over a moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until they begin to colour. Tip them and the oil into a small bowl and put the wok back on the heat.

Add another tablespoon of the oil and cook the carrot until it begins to colour and soften, then tip back into its bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the hot wok and cook the aubergine julienne for about 5 minutes, tossing frequently, until it too begins to colour and soften.

Drain the rice noodles in a colander or sieve and add these to the wok with 3 tablespoons water, the carrots and spinach, and toss it all together.

After half a minute, add the tomato bean mix and cook until the spinach wilts and the noodles are warmed through, tossing continuously over a high heat.

To Serve

Divide the noodles between 4 bowls, sit a piece of cod on each, spoon the tomatoes around that and scatter the fried ginger mix on top.

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