- Tasting the buttery fruit in many forms at the Delhi residence of Richard White, Trade Commissioner, Trade and Enterprise, New Zealand
A nice winter evening and trees lit with small lights and diyas at the entrance. A small group hosted by Richard White, dinner made at home by his expert kitchen staff, and Chef Kunal Kapur’s live class on how the famous avocado can be eaten. He made two dips and two dishes. And everyone loved the dips, the dishes suited different palates. The dips were a healthy mix of avocado, curd, cheese, parsley, dil, coriander, salt, garlic, onion and lemon. In the process, we learned that buttery soft avocado is one of the healthiest fruits in the world. It grows in abundance in New Zealand. And Avanza is probably bringing one of the finest varieties to India. But a good avocado costs Rs 350 per piece!
Chef Kunal made an avocado stew in coconut curry, chicken kebabs with avocado, traditional namak paras went with the dips and then there was litti chokha. This was proof enough that the fruit, or superfood as the natives call it, can mix well with any kind of dish from any region in India. The dishes were paired with some really good wines. It made for an excellent dinner, not much ado, but lots of quality and healthy nutrients.
All that’s good about the Avocado:
- The vitamins and antioxidants can improve the skin.
- The iron, niacin and vitamin B6 support energy levels.
- The good fats and omega acids help to maintain a healthy heart.
- Helps the body absorb more nutrients from other foods.
- Vitamin C contributes to the protection of cells from free radicals.
- The healthy fibre keeps the digestive system in shape.
You could also try making the Chokha at home:
Litti with Avocado Chokha
Ingredients for chokha
Round eggplant – 3 nos
Tomato – 6 nos
Boiled potato – 2 no
Avocado – 3 nos
Garlic chopped – 2 tsp
Onion chopped – ¼ cup
Green chilly chopped 2 tsp
Coriander chopped – 2 tbsp
Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Lemon juice – 1 no
- Roast the aubergine, tomato, potato and avocado.
- Peel and mash them all.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mash them.
- Season and serve.
2. Healthy Cooking With Olive Oil. Chef Kunal Kapur and Nutritionist Seema Singh (who is associated with Fortis Hospital) had got together in January 2015 to host a short experiential programme on why olive oil is good and how it can be used for Indian dishes—Join the Olive Oil Revolution.
What’s new and cooking—olives! They come from the Meditterranean, bringing promise of glowing skins, shining hair and lower body fats. Chefs and nutritionists are educating us on how less oil, more greens and balanced diets are going to give us all those young and shining looks. Chef Kunal gave a live demo of some yummy chicken kebabs, pineapple chutney and fresh lettuce-apple and walnut salad.
The benefits of olive oil:
- Rich in antioxidants
- Beneficial substances
- High nutritional value
- Helps prevent and fight against many lifestyle diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases. Helps maintain adequate cholesterol levels reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
- May have an anti-inflammatory effect
- May reduce the risk of some cancers
- May help prevent diabetes
- May help prevent cognitive decline
- May have antioxidant effects
- May have beneficial antithrombotic effects
Some myths cleared: Olive oil is only used in salads, European cookingFact: Olive oil can be used in cooking Indian dishes, even deep frying. There are many types of olives oils with different qualities, flavors and aromas. The different categories:
- 100% pressed olive juice, with an outstanding flavor and aroma. It has unique sensorial attributes and beneficial properties due to its minority components. Particularly recommended for use raw (in marinades, salads, sauces) in stews and in desserts.
- 100% pressed olive juice with a good flavor and aroma. Recommended for the same uses.
- Blend of refined olive oils and Extra Virgin olive oils. Recommended for cooking at high temperatures, especially fried dishes. Its ability to resist high temperatures makes it easier to create a thin, golden and crunchy coating, which prevents the food from absorbing oil, keeping it juicy and appetizing. Can withstand high temperatures and is stable due to its Oleic Acid.
Some questions answered
Can olive oil boost metabolism?
Seema Singh: It is healthy oil, but all results will depend on a complete diet and results tend to show between one to three months.
How many times can the same oil be used for frying?
Seema Singh: Depending on the colour, which should be yellow, you can use it maximum twice. If the oil has turned brown, it is not to be used.
Should one change oils regularly for cooking?
Seema Singh: You can but the results on health are controlled by balance, the quantity.
Why is oil used in salads?
Chef Kunal: It helps coat the veggies evenly.
How often do you experiment with oils and recipes?
Chef Kunal: All the time, because people want to experience new dishes all the time.
Do chefs and nutritionists like to cook their own food?
Seema Singh and Chef Kunal: We like to take a break after a hard day’s work.
How do you think India will benefit with campaigns like Join the Olive Oil Revolution?
Seema Singh and Chef Kunal: As the times are changing, people are waking up to newer lifestyles, new brands, new ways of working, this is one way of waking up to new ways of eating, choosing healthier options for a better life.