Mmmmmmm, I love me a nice pair.
An avocado that is.
In Australia, they are a-plenty, as common as fluro at a festival, on-road SUV’s and overpaid tradie bogans pairing overpriced designer threads with a cheap-ass attitude and designer mullet. After 10 years of house sharing, with no less than 15 different sets of housemates, a regular wasted staple in the fridge, was the browning, slowly rotting, half carcass of a plastic wrapped avocado. They are literally an epidemic in any Australian share house fridge, tossed aside, bought in a bulk 3-for-$2 type scenario only to suffer an undeserved, ill-fated composted ending, if they’re lucky.
Avocado goes with everything, and makes any dish distinctly Australian. Crikey, cut it in half and it’s even a dish of its own. Have spoon, have salt, ta-da!! Breakfast! True Aussie avo grub would be to spread it on a slice of toast, add tomato if feeling particularly healthy and sprinkle with salt and pepper, add slices between the beetroot and fried egg on a works hamburger or wedge it under the smoked salmon on your eggs benedict when indulging in Australia’s favourite weekend pastime, Brunch.
Similar in colour to a bright green chameleon, Australia being the magical multicultural country it is, we’ve also made the avocado as interchangeable as the incognito reptile:
El Mexicano: Smash it and mash it, add some lemon and lime, chilli and salt, now it’s holy-moly-guacamole!
Turning-Japanese-a: Slice it and fan it over basically a small piece of good ole’ chicken schnitzel and give it a fancy name like “Chicken Katsu” and you’ve got a truly ‘Jonglish’ bit of aussie nigiri there.
Italiano: Spread it, slice it or dice it under fresh mozzarella with some ripe roma tomatoes and basil on some crusty ciabatta, with a balsamic/olive oil reduction and hey presto, gourmet bruschetta. Save the avo, laughing cow wedge and tomato sauce for the “I’ve-come-home-alone-drunk-at-4am-in-the-morning-noone-loves-me-and-I-am-destined-to-be-alone-forever-but-damn-I-don’t-care-I’m-a-culinary-genius-right-now-om-nom-nom” (Anyone who says om-nom-nom deserves to be single)
Moroccan: Whiz it up in a blender with some milk and oranges, maybe a few obligatory chickpeas and there you have a favourite hawker food Moroccan avo shake.
But here in the land of South Korea, the avocado is quite an exotic being. Found only in fusion Korean food, the rich, buttery texture doesn’t seem to pair well with the spiciness and characteristics of Korean cuisine. It pops up at the better run mexican restaurants or typically in a california roll at a sushi joint, and also makes cameos on burgers menu-wide as Seoul is still in the (diminishing) throes of a burger show-down. All, at a price of course.
But, as I do like quite simple food, and tasting the individual flavours of ingredients, I longed for a fresh, perfect ripened avocado. I gazed longingly at them in the supermarkets, caressed them, only to then curse at myself for even contemplating paying ₩5,000 – ₩6,000 for one single avocado, and placing them back on the shelf. Only of course to get home, and feel unfulfilled with everything I had bought.
It’s not that I’m a tight ass, quite the contrary actually (figuratively, not literally, I do my squats and lunges), but it’s more the logistics of where that avocado has travelled from and how long it has been sitting there. As I mentioned before, they’re not really popular here, and therefore I doubt they have a high supermarket turnover.
They are also as hard as a rock. Which I am used to, you seen these rocks?!(mmm, an altercation that occurred in Seoul some time ago, but kinda went viral) but these ones are sitting in the chilled section, and well, they shouldn’t be. Once an avocado has been chilled, it is harder to get them to ripen, if at all.
But, anyway, my desire for an avocado became so overwhelming that I threw caution, and hard-earned ₩ to the wind and caved against all my better judgements. I proceeded towards the downward descent to avocado disappointment.
I put it in a paper bag. I put it in a dark corner of a cupboard. I impatiently waited, checking on the dear thing daily, waiting for telltale signs of redemption to ripeness, yet, *sigh* to no avail. After waiting a week, I decided this little baby wasn’t going anywhere so it was now or never.
As soon as I cut it, and the knife struggled, making a slight crunching sound, I knew it was doomed to fail. It was like slicing through butter. When I eventually pried it in half, I did the whole “attack-the-seed-with-knife-and-one-miss-could-sever-my-hand-trick” only to have the knife brutally stay in the seed, laughing at me, all sinister like and shit.
So, after retreating the knife and entering submission, I cried and wailed at my loss. What could I do with this unripe avocado?
Well, the only thing I could do was turn it into some sort of mashed up spread/dip/guacamole concoction, but I could hardly scoop the bloody thing out, let alone mash the friggin thing.
So, I had a brain wave, that perhaps the micro waves could help soften the blow. And voila, it worked, however it did make the whole thing turn an unappealing baby poo green/brown colour, but it tasted amazing and most importantly, was not a waste.
Unripe Avocado Dip
1 unripe avocado (of course this will work with a ripe one, but then just eat it in all its simple glory)
1 red chilli
1 tsp hot sweet chilli sauce
sprinkle rock salt
squeeze lemon juice
With avocado still in skin and seed in place (I couldn’t for the life if me remove it, it was that unripe) microwave on high in 30 second increments until it becomes pliable. Mine took 3x 30 second increments.
*It will brown slightly on the exposed edges. Mine was for my eating purposes only, so I didn’t care too much.
Add all ingredients into blender and pulse the crap outta it.
Spread on toast, crackers, falafel topped with plain yogurt and sweet chilli or roll up in cabbage leaves with homemade hummus and vegetables. Recipes for these to follow soon.