Never Say Never
This recipe for Baked Avocado is my humble attempt to perk up the bland but healthy & nutritious Avocado.
I never liked avocado when I was a kid. Strike that, that is not true. Actually, I had not even heard of it 😉 . Back in India, in my family, avocado was called butter fruit, probably because of the smooth butter like texture.
I used to visit my mammama's (my maternal grandmother) relatives whenever she went visiting them. I loved to go places with my grandmother - mainly because I could miss school and could travel by train. I loved to miss school (which kid doesn't?) and loved the rush at the train stations - the noise, the chug-chug sounds and of course, the food from the train's pantry car. But I was not allowed to buy anything from the train. Before every single trip, there would be a "sit-down" at home for me and instructions on how to behave - with the "threat" that if I misbehaved, there would be no next trip. And before every single trip, I would promise to be Ms. Goody-Two-Shoes.
There was one set of relatives I dreaded to visit. Not because, they were bad or rude or anything. They were the kindest souls in the world. I dreaded the visit only because my great-aunt would serve us butter fruit (a.k.a Avocado).
My great-aunt would pluck a fresh one from the tree in her backyard (my stomach would start churning); she would then cut the fruit (more churning), remove the chunky seed, remove the pulp from the fruit and transfer it to a bowl (I am so close to throwing up) and add sugar (kind a better, now), mix it and serve. Since I was instructed to be Ms. Goody-Two-Shoes (the next trip being at stake) and not knowing how to say "No" in a non-offensive way, I would quietly gulp down the sweetened butter fruit. (Note to self: teach Sonshine how to reject foods he does not like in a non-offensive way. Better late than never). Because of that torment, I decided that I am never going to like butter fruit in my life, ever. But, never say never 🙂 .
Fast forward 15-20 years, Manjula, one of my friends in Bangalore, introduced me to this healthy, in-thing - Avocado. I went to the grocery store looking for avocados. To my dismay what did I find? Oh! No!!! Not again. More butter fruit in my life? No way!!! I am not buying those.....
But, my friend made me some guacamole and I was hooked. I love guacamole and after coming to the US, I read about baked/grilled avocados. I tried baking the avocado with Indian spices to make it a bit more flavorful for our Indian taste buds and it turned out good. These baked avocados are good as a light meal or as a simple snack.
For this recipe, you would need a perfectly ripe avocado. But it's kind of difficult to tell if the avocados are ready to use. You can follow this tip from ehow. Or you can follow what I do. I buy raw avocados - the raw ones go unnoticed by people, nobody squishes them to see whether they are ripe - I buy those and store them in the refrigerator. Two or three days prior to using the avocado, I remove it from the fridge, wash it and wipe it dry and immerse it in the container where I store my rice (completely cover the avocado with rice). After two/three days, the perfectly ripe avocado is ready to use.
- 1 Medium sized Avocado, halved and seeded
- ¼ tsp Chaat Masala, or to taste (See Recipe Notes)
- ⅛ tsp Garam Masala, or to taste
- ½ tsp Paprika
- 3 tsp Lemon Juice
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp Grated Mozzarella Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius.
- Brush a little lemon Juice on the avocado to prevent them from browning while you are working with them.
- In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the spice mix and make a paste. Add more lemon juice if required to get a runny mix.
- Now we have to dice the avocado and retain the pieces in the peel itself. Holding the avocado (with the tip facing away from you)in one hand, run the knife vertically making slits across the avocado. The slits would be at about ¼ inch apart. Re-position the avocado so that the tip now faces the left (or right) and make cuts in the vertical direction, again, approximately ¼ inch apart. Now, you will have a checker board design on the avocado. Gently, squishing the avocado (taking care not to spoil its shape), pour the spice mix into the slits.
- Repeat the above step with the other half of the avocado.
- Top each half with about a tablespoon of grated cheese.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese melts.
- Dig In!
Chaat Masala or Chat Masala is a blend of spices used in Indian cuisine. It has a typical sweet and sour flavor and perks up the avocado nicely. You get Chaat Masala at Indian Stores.