Friday, February 11, 2011
When life gives you avocados and you just don't want more guacamole, try my Avocado Kababs.
Avocados are among my most favorite veggies. After all, what's not to love? They are creamily delicious, packed with healthy goodness, and who can hold a candle to that pretty pale-greenness? But avocados do present a challenge-- other than knowing exactly when to open one, that is. They do not lend themselves to cooking because heat destroys their flavor. And that means you have to find ways to use it up raw: I mostly use mine in salads, soups, pastas, as a garnish, and even in raitas and chutneys.
I do have one exception that I've shared with you before on this blog: my Butterless Avocado Brioche, where the avocados replace the butter and get baked into a perfectly flaky, light bread.
Yesterday, faced with a bag of fast-ripening avocados and wondering what to do with them, I was hit with inspiration. I made my Avocado Kababs pretty much as one would make traditional vegetarian shami kababs, using a lentil base. And I kept the cooking to a minimum by pan-frying them over medium-high heat to give them a perfectly golden, crispy crust. That way the center remained creamy and gorgeous and flavorful. Perfect.
I like to think of this recipe as a unique blend of Indian and Mexican flavors: there are a number of traditional Indian spices here, but an equal-credit star is the smoky-hot chipotle chili in adobo sauce.
Gotta go now, but not before I share the recipe. Enjoy your Friday, all! I think it's the best day of the week, don't you?
(Makes about 15 kababs)
1 perfectly ripe avocado, mashed
1/2 cup chana dal (bengal gram dal)
1 bay leaf
2 green cardamom pods
A 1-inch piece of cinnamon
Salt to taste
1 chipotle chili pepper with 1 tbsp of the adobo sauce they are packed in (adjust up or down based on your spicy-hot taste)
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1/4 cup green coriander leaves
2 tbsp chickpea or garbanzo bean flour (besan)
1 tbsp cornflour
Salt to taste
Oil for spraying the griddle
Place the chana dal, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat and allow it to simmer about 40 minutes or until almost tender. Turn off the heat and drain.
Place the chana dal in a food processor and process until you have a pretty fine powder. Add the avocado and process together until everything comes together.
Remove the mixture to a bowl and add the coriander powder, chopped chipotle chili and sauce, cornflour and chickpea flour. Mix thoroughly. You should have a mixture that holds together. If it is still too soft, you can add more chickpea flour.
Shape the mixture into tiny patties, about 3/4 of an inch in diameter.
Spray oil on a cast-iron or non-stick griddle and heat.
Place the kabobs one at a time, with a little distance between each, on the griddle.
Cook over medium-high heat about a minute on each side or until golden-brown. Everything is already cooked, so you don't need to cook this-- all you want is that crisp crust.
Remove to a dish. Serve hot with coconut chutney.
These make perfect hors d'oeuvres.