Native to Central and South America, the avocado has made a remarkable journey to become an irreplaceable ingredient in local cuisine across the globe. Let’s take a culinary trip with this deliciously smooth and creamy, but incredibly healthy fruit.
As one of the countries where the avocado has its origin, it’s not surprising that the well-known dip called guacamole hails from Mexico. The mashed avocado spread with chillies, cilantro and lime is a popular dip with tortillas and as accompaniment to a variety of Mexican dishes.
Mexicans as well as other Spanish speaking Central and South Americans prefer consuming their avocados as a savoury snack or meal accompaniment. Avocados are seen mixed in with rice, soups and salads.
The Peruvians treat mashed avocado as a mayonnaise to go with tequeños (fried cheese sticks) or on the side with parillas (grilled meat). They also fill avocado halves with fish or chicken as a meal on its own.
The Chileans puree their avocado to a saucy consistency to go over chicken, hamburgers or hot dogs. They also put a twist on the Caesar salad by adding sliced avocado to it.
Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Brazil, on the other hand prefer a sweater taste to their avocado. It is tradition to mash the fruit with sugar and lime, serving it as a dessert.
Brazil is joined by many Asian countries in using avocado as a dessert ingredient. Avocados are a key ingreadient of milkshakes in southern India, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. This dessert drink with sugar, milk and pureed avocado is very popular.
The Japanese dish sushi is world renowned, with California rolls and other maki containing avocado a particularly healthy favourite among sushi lovers.
The Haitians like their avocados first thing in the morning. They start their day off eating it with cassava bread.
Moving on to Africa, the Ethiopians make a colourful fruit drink consisting of layers of fruit juices, including avocados, bananas, papayas, mangoes and guavas. In Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana the avocado is simply eaten on its own or sliced up in fruit or vegetable salads. Mashed avocado sandwiches are also not uncommon. The Moroccans, on the other hand, prefer a sweet avocado milkshake with the added flavour of orange flower water.
South-African restaurants often have Avocado Ritz, half an avocado filled with a shrimp cocktail, on the menu. South Africans also like to combine avocado with smoked salmon and cream cheese on ciabatta bread, and it is popular as a pizza topping with bacon and feta cheese.
Australia and New Zealand
In Australia and New Zealand, where avocados are also grown successfully, the fruit is popular as an enhancement of various savoury dishes, salads and as sandwich topping.
Tip: However variable the use of avocado in cuisines around the world, there is one common denominator: avocados are almost always eaten raw. Some cultivars, such as the Hass, may be heated or cooked for a very short time only without becoming bitter. All avocados however become inedible when cooked for a longer period of time. Therefore, if you love avocado as a pizza topping, always add it after the rest of the pizza is done. Or stir in only at the very last minute if it’s part of a warm pasta dish.