Eat To Live

Chill avocado for a creamy savoury treat

Avocado ice cream from Coriander Leaf restaurant.
Avocado ice cream from Coriander Leaf restaurant. PHOTO: CORIANDER LEAF

This flavour-packed chilled treat, made with avocados, can be served as savoury or sweet

Does such a thing as healthy ice cream exist?

Well it does, and I'm not including sorbet (which is ice without the cream).

This is an "ice cream"? made with just avocados, and it can be eaten as a savoury or as a sweet.

Yes, savoury.

I first discovered savoury ice cream years ago in Italy when my host took me to a restaurant which served parmesan cheese in all shapes and forms.

  • CRAB MEAT, WAKAME AND POMELO SALAD WITH AVOCADO ‘ICE CREAM’

  • INGREDIENTS

     ½ cup dried wakame seaweed, soaked in water to soften and expand

     1 cup peeled jumbo crab meat, available in pasteurised tubs from supermarkets

     ½ pomelo, peeled and flesh broken up (also sold in ready-peeled forms at some supermarkets)

     1 bunch Chinese celery, leaves plucked, stems cut into short lengths

     1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

     About 1 cup avocado “ice cream”, prepared beforehand
    JAPANESE VINEGAR DRESSING

    ¼ cup rice vinegar

     ½ tsp wasabi paste

     1 tbs sugar

     1 tbs light soya sauce

    METHOD

    Make the vinegar dressing by mixing the ingredients together. Adjust the seasoning to your preference.

    Squeeze seaweed to get rid of excess water. Add the vinegar dressing and leave to marinate.

    When ready to serve, place the marinated seaweed on the plate.

    Top with crab meat and pomelo.

    Garnish with celery leaves and tomato halves.
    Place small scoops of avocado “ice cream” on the plate and serve.

    AVOCADO ‘ICE CREAM’
    (Makes about a cup)

    INGREDIENTS

     1 avocado, peeled and pit removed

     1 tbs honey

     Pinch of salt

     Juice from ¼ lemon

     About ¼ cup of water

    METHOD
    Cut the peeled avocado into smaller pieces.

    Place in a blender bowl.

    Add the lemon juice, honey and salt, and enough water, about ¼ cup, and process till smooth. (If you intend to use this as a sweet, add more honey to taste and omit the salt.)

    It should be the consistency of soft ice cream.

    Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

    Freeze the mixture, covered, for at least two hours.

    Remove from the freezer and let it defrost for 15 minutes or so before using it in dishes.

    SERVES FOUR TO SIX 

Aside from wedges, the cheese also came in foams, sauces and, yes, ice cream.

It was rather enjoyable eating a chilled, savoury cream, especially during the summer. You still get all the flavours.

Here, I am employing the same principle, except that there is no dairy in this frozen concoction.

Since avocado is already creamy, I feel there is no need for more creaminess from milk or cream.

This "ice cream"? has a naturally rich, creamy mouth feel and also delivers an element of surprise, for seldom would you find ice cream served in a salad.

I serve it with crab meat - which is an excellent match for avocado - in a salad that also features seaweed, pomelo, cherry tomatoes and Chinese celery.

So, plenty of raw stuff in there.

And eating raw vegetables means that none of the nutrients will be lost through cooking.

To balance the creaminess of the avocado, I also marinate the wakame, a Japanese jelly seaweed often found in a dried form, in a light vinegary dressing.

The pomelo and tomatoes add colour and sweetness, and the celery, a bit of crunch.

I serve this salad primarily for the taste, but it is also rich with superfoods, that is, they are dense with nutrients.

While avocados have a high fat content, they are also packed with nutrients and are a great way to add healthy fat - in particular, omega-3 fatty acids - to your diet.

Avocados also have a higher percentage of protein than other types of fruit and contain many essential vitamins and minerals.

The pomelo and tomatoes can also be described as nutrient-rich.

Pomelo helps to boost the immune system, improve digestion, lower blood pressure, prevent anaemia, boost bone strength and prevent cancer.

Tomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, including, of course, their rich concentration of lycopene, probably the most well known of antioxidants associated with it.

The trio of ingredients makes an excellent combination, both in taste and appearance.

But please do not recite the list of nutrients to your guests when you serve it.

Besides, they will not be listening: They would be too busy concentrating on the flavours found in this super-healthy - sorry, I mean super-delicious - salad.

•Sylvia Tan is a freelance writer and cookbook author. Her previous recipes for Eat To Live can be found in two cookbooks, Eat To Live and Taste.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'How to make healthy 'ice cream''. Print Edition | Subscribe