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Oh my global Avocado!!

Oh my global Avocado!!

As someone who grew up in India in the 80s and 90s, I was not exposed to the creamy goodness of a vibrant green avocado until I came to the United States. The first time I tasted guacamole was a store-bought version at a graduate students’ party. It was close to a camouflage green in color had a funky taste as if something had gone bad. At the time I did not know that avocados do indeed start oxidizing once cut and taste best when consumed fresh. So after getting a taste of guacamole, which almost certainly had gone bad, I vowed to stay away from the versatile fruit for life. Fast forward 3 years and I saw one of the pickiest food eaters I knew swore by avocados and I decided to give it another try and I am glad I did. The second time I tried an avocado was also in guacamole, just that this time it was freshly prepared and I had mixed feelings as soon as I tasted it. On one hand, I was like “oh my god, this is so good!!” and on the other hand I was like “Damn you store bought guacamole, I missed out on this goodness for three years”.  A fresh ripe avocado has a creamy texture with a light flavor that blends well with a variety of flavors. I soon started making guacamole at home and have since tried many different avocado recipes, from smoothies to salads to avocado toasts.

Somewhere around 2015 or so, Avocado toasts became really popular and “the” snack at hip cafes in San Francisco, where I was living at the time. I do not want to get into the debate of whether avocado toasts are over-hyped or over-priced, and just want to say that I enjoy trying different versions of avocado toasts at various cafes and create my own recipes at home. The origin of avocados can probably be traced back to Mexico but with its subtle flavor, it blends with various cuisines. Last weekend, I made five different recipes inspired by five different cuisines and with avocado as the star, and I was not disappointed with the results.

1. Za'atar Roasted Tomatoes on Tahini Avocado Toast

I try a fair bit of Mediterranean recipes and I have been trying out different recipes from "Rose Water and Orange Blossoms" by Maureen Abood. One of my absolute favorites from the book is the recipe for za'atar roasted tomatoes. The tomatoes are slow roasted for many hours and they have nice tangy taste one they are done, ideal for using in salads or sandwiches. I had tried using these on labneh crostini, a recipe from the book, and thought that it would be interesting to using avocado instead of labneh.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

For Za’atar roasted tomatoes:

  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp za’atar spice
  • 1½ tsp Olive oil
  • pinch of salt 
  • pinch of black pepper

For Avocado toast

  • 1½  tsp Tahini
  • 1 Avocado
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon to taste
  • Bread of your choice

Method

Start by making the roasted tomatoes. Chop the cherry tomatoes into half. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the tomatoes on the sheet pan and mix in olive oil, za'atar spice, salt and pepper, until all the tomatoes are coated well with the oil.  Bake at 275℉/135℃ ( not need to preheat) for 2-3 hours. You will know the tomatoes are done when they are soft and appear slightly shriveled. These can be made a day in advance.

Before Roasting...

Cherry tomatoes and Za'atar before roasting  

After Roasting...

Za'aatar roasted tomatoes after roasting

For the avocado toast itself, mash the avocado and mix in tahini, salt and lemon. Spead the mash on top of toasted bread and top it with roasted tomatoes

Tahini, avocado, lemon and za'atar 

2. Roasted Bell Pepper Avocado Toast

One of my favorite quick weekday dinners is pasta with toasted bell peppers and grated cheese. I really like the sweet flavor of the bell peppers and vibrant colors that they lend to any dish. I often roast the bell peppers in the weekend and use them in pasta or sandwiches during the week. When I used these on an avocado toast, the smooth texture and subtle flavor of the avocado just elevated the taste of the bell peppers 

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • ¼ Red Bell pepper
  • ¼ Yellow Bell pepper
  • ¼ Orange Bell pepper
  • 1 tbsb olive oil
  • ¼  tsp salt
  • ¼  tsp pepper
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bread of your choice

Method

Preheat the oven at 450℉/230℃. Slice the bell peppers lengthwise into 1inch wide slices. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Mix oil, salt, and pepper into the bell peppers and ensure the bell peppers are coated well with oil. Bake for around 20 min, until the bell peppers are soft and corners start turning black. 

For the avocado toast, mash an avocado and mix in crushed garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread on toasted bread and top with the roasted bell peppers

3. Dabeli inspired Avocado Toast

Dabeli is a type of Indian street food, mainly enjoyed in the western state of Gujarat. Basically, to make dabeli you slice a small bun into half, line it some chutneys and sandwich in between a spicy mash of potatoes with toasted peanuts and pomegranate seeds. When I was in middle school, this is something my friends and I used to often buy from a street vendor outside my school and just the thought of this dish brings back fond memories. I decided to recreate my childhood nostalgia but this time with avocado instead of potatoes. This recipe requires a little bit of prep time but it's worth it

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

Green Chutney

  • 1 bunch Cilantro, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup Mint, stems removed (Optional)
  • 1-2 Green chilies, depending on your spice level
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to take

Tamarind Chutney

  • 3-4 Dates
  • 2 tbsp Tamarind paste
  • 1/4 tsp Red chili powder
  • Rock Salt (Himalayan pink salt) to taste
  • 1/4 Roasted cumin 

For the toast

  • 1 Avocado
  • ½ tsp garam masala ( or dabeli masala if you have that at home)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Finely chopped green chilies (similar to Thai chilies) or ¼  tsp red chili powder
  • Salt as per taste
  • Roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Bread of your choice

Method

Making the green chutney:

Wash the cilantro, mint and green chilies and blend into a fine paste. Add lemon juice and salt as per taste.

Making the tamarind chutney:

Deseed and boil the dates for a few minutes, I usually boil it in the microwave for around 3 minutes. The goal is that they should become soft enough that you grind into a paste. One boiled, let it cool for a few minutes and then grind into a paste along with tamarind paste. Mix red chili powder, rock salt, and cumin

Assembling the toast

Mash the avocado and mix in garam masala, lemon juice, finely chopped green chilies ( or red chili powder) and salt as per taste. Toast the bread. Apply a thin layer of green chutney and then a thin layer of tamarind chutney. Next, spread the avocado mash. Top it with roasted peanuts and pomegranate.

4. Avocado Rice Paper Salad - GLUTEN FREE

I visited Ho Chi Minh city last year and key high light of the trip was food. As a vegetarian, it is actually quite easy to find good vegetarian food in Vietnam, all you have to do is to look for the 'Chai' ( pronounced 'Jaai' in Vietnamese) in restaurant names. But with street food, it could be challenging to know what they are mixing the dish. My friend tried this rice paper salad being served at street corners and figured that it was possible to make it vegetarian if only the vendor would hold off on dried shrimp. She explained it to the street vendor to a portion with the shrimp and I am so glad she did. It was really tasty and very spicy. I decided to recreate that dish but with avocado as the flavor maker instead of the shrimp. This is one is all for all my gluten intolerant friends who can't enjoy toasts.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Rice papers
  • 1 Green onion
  • 1/4 cup Green mango, sliced into thin stipes
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro
  • 1-2 Chilies, depending on taste
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 Avocado ( Sliced)
  • 1/4 cup Crushed peanuts

Method

Using scissors, cut the rice paper into thin stripes, almost like noodles. Chop the green onion, both the greens and the blub. Mix all ingredients except avocado and crushed peanuts. Top with sliced avocado and crushed peanuts. Eat immediately or the rice paper will get soggy.

5. Guacamole inspired avocado toast - The classic

How could I not end with where it all started. As I mentioned earlier, the first time I liked avocados was when I tried guacamole at a Mexican restaurant. I was so in love with that taste, that I learned how to make guacamole and for a few years used avocados only to make guacamole. This is truly a classic and it is very hard to wrong with toast inspired by guacamole

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • ½ jalapeno, finely chopped  ( de-seed for less spicy)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup finely chopped tomato
  • ½ cup boiled corn kernels
  • 1 Avocado
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon to taste
  • Bread of your choice

Method

Mix the jalapeno, cilantro, tomato, corn kernels, and some salt to taste,  in a bowl and set aside. Mash the avocado and mix in some salt and lemon to taste. Spread the mash on toasted bread and top with the mix that was set aside in the bowl earlier. 

 Hope you enjoy making these recipes as much as I did. Do share your creations with us on Instagram @talesonsilk

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