Friday, August 19, 2011

Avocado Adventures

When you are a food blogger, people assume that you cook with fancy ingredients every day. And if you burst that bubble and admit that you just love cooking – and not necessarily exotic dishes, then they are so disappointed that you feel like you have let them down. So to make them feel better (and to prove to yourself that you are indeed a true foodie) you start rattling off words like porcini, Arborio rice, thyme, wasabi, emmental cheese, zucchini, asparagus, artichokes and the like in your head! Never mind that these are things that the average Indian has probably never heard of, forget tasted or cooked with. But you being a true gourmand have to have cooked with these strange-sounding and unfamiliar-therefore-gotta-be-delicious ingredients.

If you are a food blogger, then whatever your area of interest or expertise, I’m sure you have given in to the call of the unknown at some or the other point. It needn’t be anything too fancy-shmancy. Just buying an Avocado is adventurous enough for some of us if you ask me! Ermmm… no? Ok, so maybe it’s just me then who had never had an Avocado until now. Yeah, this entire build up was leading up to the fact that I bought and tasted an Avocado for the first time. Fine. Judge me if you will. But somehow, I had never ever put this fruit into my mouth until a few days ago. Not even in a salad.

In my defense (not that I need to defend myself) I grew up in Bhubaneshwar where 20 yrs ago, even South-Indian food was exotic! Even in Mumbai, Avocados are not that easy to come by. At least not in Kandivali where I stay. And surprisingly even the uber-cool Hyper City never stocks Avocados. And you will never guess where I finally found them; along with fresh basil, parsley and – wait for it – dried porcini! At Big Bazaar. That’s where. And to think that I used to turn my nose up at all things Big Bazaar! Teaches you something I tell you… not sure what exactly the teaching is, but after I have gone on for so long about Avocadoes for God’s sake, there better be a loftier goal, no?
So anyhow, my friend Sm and I decided to whip up some Guacamole and proceeded to devour it with local Potato chips on a really lazy Sunday afternoon.



Ripe Avocados – 2
Onion – 1 small
Green Chillies – 3
Cilantro/Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

To prepare the avocados, run the knife vertically along the entire length of the fruit, around the seed. Now just twist the two halves with your hands and they should separate easily. Remove the pit/stone.  The avocados should be ripe and soft but not too mushy. Score the flesh with a knife or just scoop the flesh out with a spoon into a bowl. Make sure you discard the peel. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice or squeeze in half a lemon. This prevents the avocado from graying. Now mash the avocado well. Traditionally I believe Guacamole was made in a mortar-pestle, but you can just use a fork or a potato-masher.

Now finely chop the chillies, cilantro leaves and onion. Mix this in with the avocado. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper as per taste and mash some more. Garnish with a sprig of coriander or cilantro and some chilli flakes if you like.
The way I like it:
This Guacamole tasted great as a dip with some crisp potato chips. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two and also used as a quick spread on a slice of bread. Some recipes called for diced tomatoes, but both Sm and I are not huge fans of raw tomatoes in this kind of a dish, so we trusted Nigella Lawson's version and skipped the tomatoes. The resulting dip was buttery soft but not too mushy, tart, and had a lovely crunch lent by the onions.On the whole, a successful Avocado Adventure!

This recipe is my entry to Priya’s  Big Chutney Chow Down. Do check it out for a treasure trove of dips, chutneys, relishes and the like.