Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kandy(ed) Sri Lankan Guacamole with toasted coconut

This past Sunday afternoon while the better half of The Salty Pear was breaking a sweat making puff pastry for our Salty Pear tarts and I was casually snapping photos and watching American football playoffs, I realized we hadn't bothered to eat anything. This even though we'd already poached a half dozen pears in Pinot Noir and been to the farmer's market that morning. I decided to quickly stir up this recipe ("Avocado chutney," from Sri Lanka), perfect for dipping nachos, crackers, or flat bread. It's from our hometown recipe faves, Alford and Duguid's first James Beard winning book, Flatbreads and Flavors. Duguid and Alford say they picked up this recipe while hanging in Kandy a town in central Sri Lanka known for hosting Esala Perehera. A lovely place where one half of The Salty Pear once spent some cerebral down time

We should mention two things. One, we completely devoured the whole batch in about ten minutes flat, even after one half of The Salty Pear said, "Oh, I'm finished. I'm not having anymore" halfway through. Two, the original recipe calls for fresh cilantro on top, which we had sitting on the counter and totally forgot to chop and garnish with until after we had inhaled all two pounds of the guac.

Recipe: Kandy(ed) Sri Lankan Guacamole with toasted coconut

2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and mashed
1/4 C of unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 lime, the juice of
2 cloves unpeeled garlic, dry toasted
1 good sized shallot, diced
1 small chile to taste (you know how much heat you can handle)
1 heaping tablespoon dry toasted shredded coconut to sprinkle on top
(forgotten) fresh cilantro, chopped to garnish

To start slice a couple of ripe avocados in half then pull out the cores. You can tell when they're ripe because they're squishier than a baby's butt, and you can core them by slamming a knife blade into the woody sphere while holding it in your palm (but please do be careful). You could also try and pry the slippery buggers out with your hands. Either way mash the avocados in a mixing bowl and set aside. Next step, give a rough chopping to a small ripe tomato and stir it, along with the juice of lime, a quarter cup of dried (unsweetened is better) shredded coconut and the mashed avocado together. Put aside the mashed avocado mixture for later.

Next Heat a small pan or skillet to medium-high and dry toast (no oil, butter or god forbid Pam!) two cloves of garlic in their skin, i.e. do not peel them yet. This should take a couple minutes on either side, you'll know they're ready when they brown and are soft to the touch. Once your garlic is cooked, peel the cloves and mash them in a mortar with a finely chopped shallot, a healthy pinch of coarse salt and a serrano chile. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, go get one already (though you could make this spice paste in a blender if you want). Now stir the spicy garlic mixture into avocado mash and serve garnished with dry toasted coconut and nachos or anything else crunchy and dippable.

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