Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
The avo, with all its delicious creaminess, is a firm winter favourite! Its availability throughout the cooler months in South Africa and its versatility in warm dishes makes it a winter winner – which is a good thing, because June just happens to be World Avo Month.
If there’s one thing we all crave during winter it’s comfort food, and you couldn’t get more comforting than melt-in-your-mouth avos. You can add an avo to practically any winter dish as a wholesome side or topper, or make avo the star of your winter warmer starter, mains or dessert.
Nature is simply perfect by design, and this humble fruit – so abundant at this time of the year – has many of the nutrients our body needs to build a strong immune system as the temperature plummets.
Avos are high in copper, which plays a role in the functioning of special immune cells, like macrophages, neutrophils and monocytes. Copper also enhances the activity of natural killer cells that help to limit the spread of infections in the body.
Your skin is the first line of defence against bacteria and viruses entering the body, and avos are high in biotin, a B-vitamin that helps maintain normal skin functioning. They also contain beta-sitosterol, a bioactive compound that has been shown to have a special effect on immunity. They are also a source of fibre, which is essential for a healthy gut (home to an incredible 65% of your immune system).
Both green-skinned and dark-skinned avos are equally delicious and nutritious. They’re both quick and easy to prepare, and – probably their best quality of all – they’re load-shedding friendly! Simply peel, destone, and mash, slice or dice for an instant meal, because let’s be honest, when the chips are down and lights are off, avo and crusty bread or crackers stands boldly as a meal in its own right!
However, if you have checked the load-shedding schedule and were not caught off guard, you can easily prep beforehand, and add an avo on the side, on top or inside for balanced meals that burst with flavour.
Our top picks this season are chicken curry rotis, made with avo and served with an extra helping of avo on the side, and a butternut, grains and avo winter salad, topped with avo and laced with a creamy avo dressing.
Our load-shedding tip? Prep your curry ahead of time and make up the rotis fresh on the braai or a gas hob or skottel braai when you heat the curry. And prep your salad beforehand, serving it at room temperature with your fresh avo dressing, or gently heat on the braai or gas for a warmer alternative before dressing it.
That’s a ton of good reasons to tuck into avos this World Avo Month – and this winter!
Roast Butternut, Grains and Avo Winter Salad
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
• 1 butternut
• 30 ml (2 tbsp) avocado or olive oil
• 30 ml (2 tbsp) honey
• 125 ml (½ cup) corn couscous
• 125 ml (½ cup) pumpkin seeds
• 125 ml (½ cup) cranberries
• 400 g tin lentils, rinsed and drained
• Handful coriander, finely chopped + extra
• 2 avocados
• Maldon salt, for sprinkling (optional)
For the tangy avo dressing:
• 1 avocado, mashed
• Juice of 4 small lemons
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut the butternut (skin on) in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut each half into 4 wedges and place on a roasting tray.
- Sprinkle with the oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning halfway, until caramelised.
- Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to packet instructions. Combine the cooked couscous, seeds, cranberries, lentils and coriander. Divide between 4 plates with the butternut and extra coriander.
- For the dressing, blitz together the ingredients until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make avo roses by cutting the avocados (firm-ripe avocados work best) in half and removing the skins and pips. Working with 1 avocado half at a time, place cut side down on a cutting board. Slice through the width into very thin slices.
- Fan out the avocado slices into a straight line. Beginning at one end, gently roll up the slices into a spiral rose shape. Repeat with the rest. Season with Maldon or table salt. Add a rose to each salad. Serve with the dressing.
Load shedding tip: Make this salad up to a day ahead. Simply bring to room temperature if it was refrigerated and add the avo roses when ready to serve.
Chicken Curry Rotis
Load shedding friendly!
Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
For the curry:
- 45 ml (3 tbsp) mild curry powder
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) cornflour
- 6 chicken breasts, cubed
- Avocado or olive oil, for frying
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 410 g tin Indian-style chopped tomatoes
- 375 ml (1½ cups) plain yoghurt + extra
- Handful coriander, chopped + extra
For the avo rotis:
- 180 ml (¾ cup) mashed avocado
- 250 ml (1 cup) cake flour + extra for dusting
- Squeeze lemon juice
- 5 ml (1 tsp) salt
- 80 g melted butter
- 1 avocado, sliced
- For the curry, mix half the curry powder and the cornflour together. Season with salt and pepper. Mix through the chicken.
- Heat a splash of oil in a 25cm flat-bottomed cast iron potjie over medium hot coals and fry the chicken until golden. Season with salt and pepper. Keep aside.
- Heat another splash of oil and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic and remaining curry powder and fry for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes and chicken, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Add a splash of water, as necessary, to prevent the curry from drying out.
- Mix through the yoghurt and coriander and heat through, without boiling.
- For the rotis, combine all the ingredients until a soft dough forms. Divide into 4-6 balls. Roll each out, as thin as possible, into a circle on a flour dusted surface.
- Place on a hot grid and cook over medium hot coals for 2-3 minutes on each side until charred and cooked. Brush with butter.
- Serve the curry rolled up in the rotis with sliced avo, extra dollops of yoghurt and extra coriander.
Tip: This recipe can also be made on gas. Use a griddle pan for the rotis. – Press release, South African Avocado Growers’ Association