Thursday, September 17, 2015

Simple Avocado Toast with Dukkah

My sister is the best; she recently gave me a manual camera that I've been playing around with lately. I now appreciate how difficult it is to take a good photo: I am still learning how to focus the lens so that the whole main object is clear while the background is blurry. I'm also trying to figure out the right aperture so that it captures the lighting the way it should. And the speed, I'm not even sure yet how to adjust that. Very difficult! You can see how I'm doing with the ones I'm posting today.

Lately I have been listening to the people around me talk about how they despise being in the kitchen. Gasp! I love pottering around the kitchen for hours and my motivation is a feast at the end. I'm all about slow food and deep flavors, which go together. In Indian food, there is a desire for a long list of spices, but the end result is so beautiful and complex. My recipes can give people an opportunity to make at home what they relish in a restaurant. I always feel a sense of accomplishment after I've cooked for hours, like, look what I made, it's beautiful and so flavorful! There is also a meditative aspect to cooking as it forces you to focus on the deeds at hand and that is certainly a healthy attribute.

But I understand that many people don't appreciate spending hours in the kitchen like I do. And I agree that there are days when I don't want to be pottering around in the kitchen either. So that's why my next recipe is super simple and snappy. 

There is a definite craze around avocado and as a health professional, I can understand why. Avocado is high in mono-unsaturated fats, which is the healthy fat that won't clog your arteries and actually keeps the bad fat (LDL) at bay. It will make you put on weight just like any other fat though, so moderation is key. Avocado has anti-inflammatory powers. It contains carotenoids, an antioxidant also found in carrots, but which absorb more effectively from avocado's healthy fats; avocado helps absorb carotenoids from other vegetables too! Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 is present in high doses (highest found in shiitake mushrooms) which helps your body convert macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) into energy. Various other nutrients make this a power house, so dig in! I suggest not more than half an avocado per day but I personally eat one avocado a week as I don't live in a country that grows them (unfortunately) and consider the transport and environmental effects.

My favorite way to enjoy avocado is in a guacamole with lots of lime and also in the way I'm presenting here today with dukkah. Have you ever had dukkah before? It's an Egyptian blend of spices, nuts and seeds. It adds the perfect crunch and perks up my avocado toast as well as hummus, salads, tzatziki and more. I love them with hazelnuts but you can use whatever nuts you fancy. My sister thought it would be amazing with pistachios too! You can make this blend ahead of time and place in an air-tight container so that it's handy when you need it! It also makes a unique present! Enjoy! 
Divya's Dukkah on Avocado Toast
Makes about half a cup

1/4 cup / 1/2 dl hazelnuts
2 tbs / msk sunflower seeds
2 tsp / tsk cumin seeds
2 tsp / tsk coriander seeds
1 tbs / msk nigella seeds
1 tbs / msk sesame seeds
A sprinkling of calendula petals (optional)
A sprinkling of rose petals (optional)
A zesting of lemon (optional)

1 slice of rye sourdough, toasted
1/2 an avocado
Salt & pepper
Chili powder
A squirt of lemon or lime (optional)

1. Make the dukkah: Toast the hazelnuts until nicely golden. 
2. In a pan on low heat, toast the sunflower seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, nigella seeds and sesame seeds until golden and fragrant. Stir often so that nothing burns. 
3. Once cooled, pound the hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, nigella seeds and sesame seeds until roughly crushed in a pestle and mortar. Add the petals and lemon zest at the end. Store in an air-tight container. 
4. Assembly: Spread the avocado on top of the toast, then sprinkle with salt pepper, chili powder, lime and a spoonful of dukkah. Enjoy! 

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