Guacamole is one of those foods that I have known about for ages but have never eaten. Despite having access to an abundance of avocado pears in Nigeria, I never attempted to make the stuff by myself. I have watched many shows on Food Network and BBC Good Food where Guacamole was prepared and it still didn’t tempt me to trying it out myself. Despite how delicious looking, fresh and refreshing the green dip looked, and making mental notes a hundred times to try it out, I never did. Fast forward to eating out at a mexican restaurant chain weeks ago, I finally tried out Guacamole. With a lot of excitement, I dipped nachos into it and let me just say it was quite a let down. You know how you have been itching to try something out, you have built up an expectation in your head, naively assuming that it will be so good, because how can it not be? Well I was disappointed. I won’t mention the restaurant chain’s name because the owner is a celebrity chef I have a lot of respect for. She didn’t make the guacamole herself, so I can’t hate on her work.
After making my Kilishi pizza HERE (which I am still psyched about by the way. lol), I decided to take on the challenge of Guacamole, with a Nigerian twist. Immediately the idea of using Ube came to mind. Afterall Ube is a pear fruit too, another specie of pear that is also creamy and green like the avocado pear. Then another thought hit me, what do we eat Ube with in Nigeria? Corn of course. Boiled or roasted, corn pairs beautifully with Ube. A mixture of sweet from the corn and tangy from the Ube is a delicious match, made in taste buds heaven. Suddenly an idea was born. I am going to make a Ube and Corn deconstructed Guacamole.
What does deconstructed mean, when it gets to food? You may have heard this term before. It simply means “take the foods that are normally combined in the dish, change their forms, and then plate them together in a different way. It’s not just about taking the dish apart, but putting its elements back together”. “It’s “chef speak” for re-creating a dish. When we talk about “deconstructing” that means to take the original recipe to a new level. Literally, taking it apart and putting it back together again”. To deconstruct food is to take apart a dish or recipe or whatever into its different taste elements or ingredients.
For example, my other Efo Riro recipe (HERE) is deconstructed because instead of blending the ingredients for fresh pepper, I chopped it instead. Hence, deconstructed. Follow my drift? Don’t worry, it may take some time to get used to the concept. I am a Food Network pro. I have heard the word so many times and seen it in action, it is second nature to me. Therefore, in the spirit of experimenting, here is another Dooney’s Kitchen Original.
You will need
1 standard size avocado pear
3 pieces of ube
1 small onion
1/2 a piece of ata rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero pepper. You can also use jalapeno or serrano pepper
1 teaspoon of dry pepper – cayenne pepper
sprinkling of chopped basil (about a tablespoon) – fresh efinrin would so, you can also use coriander or cilantro
1 clove of garlic
1/2 a lime
3 tablespoons of boiled corn pieces
tomatoes – optional (i substituted tomatoes for corn)
This is really, really easy. No much cooking involved, just chopping and mashing. The recipe above is for a small batch (i was experimenting), double or triple this if you wish.
1. To Cook Ube, you either dunk it in hot water, or you dry cook it by placing it in an empty pot and placing the pot on heat. You will know when it has cooked through by gently pressing with your fingers. The skin should feel soft to touch. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: ube in its raw form is purplish in colour, which mostly darkens to a deep hue of purple immediately after cooking. If you leave ube for a while after cooking, the skin changes colour to brown. I had totally forgotten about that. In a way it was a good coincidence. You will see why below.
2. Boil the corn, or you could roast/grill it. I chose the easy street option (not to talk of fast) of boiling. Aint got the time to grill in an oven, turning it over a hundred times, to brown each side. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: roasting will probably be better as it will introduce a smokey flavour to the guacamole. I made this at 8pm yesterday, hence the easy street option. The next time I make guacamole, I will roast the corn and share the results with you guys. You can cheat and simply use sweetcorn, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of boiling corn. Shhhhhhhhh. It will be our little secret. hehehehehe
3. While the corn is boiling, slice the avocado and take out the pith. Using a spoon, scoop out the green creamy stuff and place in a bowl or small mortar.
Finely chop the ata rodo, onion, garlic and add to the bowl or mortar. Sprinkle in the dry pepper and the juice of 1/2 a lime.
now, the ube should be soft and cooled. Peel the skin off the seed, add to the mortar and then proceed to gently mash all the ingredients together. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: trying to separate the creamy bit from the skin of the Ube proved too difficult, so I decided to use both because hey, when we eat Ube we don’t peel off the skin. Adding the ube will colour the guacamole slightly i.e. a slight brownish hue from the skin, which was fine. Imagine if the skin was still purple, I am not sure if it would have been visually appealing.
Using a knife, scrape off the cooked corn from the cob and add to the mortar. P.S – the corn must also be cooled, and I also used roughly 3 tablespoons. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: guacamole can be creamy or chunky. Personally i think chunky is way nicer, so don’t be too aggressive with the pestle/fork/spoon. Mash enough to have creamy and chunky bits.
4. Pluck a few basil leaves and chop
add to the bowl/mortar and stir. Sprinkle in salt to taste and you are done.
……………………..taste the Guacamole and taste the difference. The flavour of the Ube rhymes perfectly with the avocado. The corn also adds a sweet dimension to the flavour profile. It will remind you of eating Ube and Corn but so much better, because of the other ingredients. You will have a creamy, savoury, tangy and sweet mixture. If you have had Guacamole before, you will just know this is better. If you haven’t tried Guacamole before, welcome to creamy deliciousness. This will now be the standard to measure all the other guacamole’s you will eat. Hehehehehe.
Traditionally Guacamole is served with Nachos. As I had already gone the route of making this Nigerian, I decided to go further by serving it with, wait for it………………………Plantain Chips.
Now that party season is amongst us, try this out for your guests. Many dips are a unhealthy, processed mess. This is healthy and fresh. If you are hosting a really fancy dig, plate the Guacamole in small avocado pears and top with 2 or 3 pieces of plantain chips
Make a guacamole they probably have never heard before and experiment away with what to serve it with. I used plantain chips for a more Nigerian feel, you can use fried spicy meat, suya, yamarita fries, prawn tempura, plain fried yam, spicy chin chin, grilled chicken, etc. Guacamole can also be used as a spread for a sandwich or place in a fajita wrap with chunks of meat, fish or chicken. Think of it like mayonnaise but 100 times better
If you would rather prefer a family style of serving, simply spread plantain chips on a tray, and pour the Guacamole into a bowl which everybody can dip into. You can have this tray either passed around by a waiter or member of the family
or place on a table for everyone to go pick themselves.
This post is the first of the series of Party inspired posts that will be coming up in the run up to Thanksgiving and Christmas and of course my birthday on the 26th.