For us Indians, Avocado is a fairly new addition in our local markets as well as our kitchens. Although I have tried it in salads, guacamole and also in various mexican delicacies, its culinary versatility is yet to be explored.
What is an Avocado?
It is a fruit that tastes like a vegetable and looks like a pear. They can be round or pear shaped. They come in a range of colors from dark green to crimson to yellow or almost black. I have spotted medium green, pear shaped avocados in the Indian market. Avocado has a mild, rich and fatty flavor. It is grown in Mexico and used in various Mexican dishes.
How To Check if Avocado is Ripe?
Ripe Avocado is firm but if you can press gently, it is ripe.
Unlike most fruits, avocado only starts to ripen when they have been cut from the tree. Raw avocado is wrapped in paper, stored at room temperature for a few days to ripen.
How to Store?
Do not cut until just before use, avocado flesh blackens on the surface when exposed.
Place the avocado in an opaque container with a piece of cut up onion. Cover with lid and refrigerate. Avocado stay fresh for many days this way. You can also wrap it in cling film, refrigerate and protect it from air and light.
How To Use?
It is cut lengthwise, deseeded and the brown skin is removed to reveal the green flesh on the inside. The flesh can be scooped out with the help of a melon scooper.
To use Avocado in salad, cut it lengthwise, remove the seed and remove the brown skin. Cut it halves lengthwise again, peel the skin and slice the avocado.
Peeled and deseeded Avocado can also be pureed and used in pasta sauces, desserts or beverages.
Avocado, Health and Norurishment.
Avocado has the highest protein content of any fruit.
100g of Avocado contains 190kCal. Their fat can reduce cholesterol levels considerably. They are good for diabetic sufferers. They are high in fibre, that is 3.4g per 100gms. Avocado is a good source of Vitamin E, mono-saturated fats and potassium which helps to control pressure and maintain a regular heart-beat and a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin E and C present in Avocado are both anti-oxidants and therefore prevent free radical damage that leads to certain cancers.
Interesting Facts About Avocado.
Cutting and rubbing the flesh of a ripe avocado on sun-burnt skin helps in soothing it.
Being rich in vitamin C and vitamin E, both of them having antioxidant properties, avocados help in slowing down the aging process.
Avocados had a long-standing stigma as a sexual stimulant and were not purchased or consumed by people wanting to preserve a chaste image.
Mexico is the world’s top producer of avocados, with California coming in second.
Although the Spanish noted the existence of Avocado since 1519, it was dismissed as tasteless until it began to become popular in 20th century America.
Cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits, birds, parrots, fish and particularly horses can be severely harmed or even killed if they consume the leaves, bark of the tree, or avocado pit.
There are currently around 80 different avocado varieties.
Folk wisdom believed that a Mayan princess ate the very first avocado, and it gave her magical powers.
Cooking With Avocado
Explore your possibilities with Avocado; you can peel, deseed and puree it and use it to make a pasta sauce, dessert or a milkshake.
One of the most popular Avocado recipes is Guacamole, which is served as a side with Quesadillas and tacos, it is also served as a dip with tortilla chips.
Avocado dressing compliments seafood. Avocado can also be used in salads or tacos with seafood.
In Indonesia it is also used in a milkshake and some even use avocado to make sushi.You can also try this easy Guacamole recipe to begin with.
Guacamole is made of avocado; it is eaten on the side with Mexican delicacies such as Quesadillas and it can also be eaten with tortilla chips as a dip.
For 150gms of Guacamole
Avocado 100gms (recipe uses 1 avocado)
Onion, chopped 25gms
Tomato, chopped 25gms
Green Chilli, chopped 10gms
Lemon Juice 15ml
Coriander Leaves, chopped 20gms
Salt to taste
Special Equipment Melon Scooper
Cut the Avocado into half, lengthwise. Remove the seed and the brown skin attached to the seed.
Use a melon scooper to scoop out the flesh of the avocado.
Coarsely grind the avocado.
In a bowl, add in chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, chopped green chilli and chopped coriander leaves along with the coarsely ground avocado and mix well.
Squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture and add in salt, mix well.
Serve cold with tortilla chips.
Tip: Do not cut or scoop out the avocado until right before you mix it. The avocado tends to get oxidized and the exposed inside begins to blacken.
Avocado are available in Godrej Nature's Basket Stores www.naturesbasket.co.in
Also available in Mumbai localbanya.com/
Chef's Experience Note:
Chef Y.B. Mathur is Sr. Executive Chef (retd.) with ITC WelcomGroup Hotels. I met him during the ITC Kitchen Executive interviews, 3 years ago. He is my guide and teacher, and I would love to share his note about Avocados with you.
"For years Avocado and prawn salad was the topmost seller in the restaurant that I ran as Chef In Abu Dhabi Meridien. Each day we were selling upwards of 42 portions during dinner (I ran a nightclub cum speciality dining room - the largest in the gulf at that point of time - it had 180 covers, 6 carving stations, 12 side-boards, and a waiting lounge. It had ten gueridon trollies, 6 for flambes and 4 for cheese and wine service. All salads on the menu had to be made at site as per customer's choice of made-in-presence dressings and sauce variations).
Reader's Digest (1996) Foods That Harm Foods That Heal, First Edition, Reader's Digest Association