Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Inspired by Avocado

This evening I decided to make my first Burmese dish. I found it on Foodbuzz, but the contributor has his own website where the recipe can be viewed. Here's the URL in case you're interested:

I followed the recipe word for word, sans the gamal masala, which I couldn't locate anywhere. It turned out well, but probably not as well as it turns out for most people who try making it. It seemed to lack something -- probably the gamal masala -- and I had an urge to add some kind of Vietnamese herb to it. If only I'd had some rau ram or cilantro on hand...

In any case, I threw together a simple bowl of green beans (as the recipe recommends), and with the Burmese chicken curry we had a good dinner.

This is kind of a boring photo -- except for the fact that the curried chicken looks like the head of a goat, doesn't it? (It even has an eye and a pair of lips.) Or some headless turkey? Maybe I'm on drugs and don't know it...

As I was heading back to the kitchen I noticed an avocado sitting by the window. It looked so lonely there, getting all brown (and dusty) in its corner, and I had a sudden inspiration to make sinh to bo (an avocado smoothie). I immediately grabbed my wallet, threw my shoes on, and went to the Korean mini-mart near my apartment and bought some Haggen Daas French vanilla ice cream.

Here's what I did to make the sinh to:

1) Dumped 4 heaping spoonfuls of French vanilla ice cream into a blender
2) Added 1/2 a cup of 2% milk (maybe a little more than that)
3) Added one ripe, medium size avocado
4) Added 2 spoonfuls of brown sugar (brown sugar only because it happened to be on hand just then)
5) And then blended everything together for about 45 seconds or so

My wife had no idea what I was doing, so when I brought out our desserts and she spooned into hers (it was too thick to drink with a straw, which is how one deals with sinh to in Vietnam) she was, I must say, pretty impressed.

I dressed mine up with an oversized, Salinas-grown strawberry sliced in half. (Hey, there's a face in that bowl, too!)

This is not a true Vietnamese avocado shake. Usually they make it with crushed ice instead of ice cream, and use sweetened condensed milk rather than 2% (I don't think I've ever even seen 2% milk in Vietnam). It's better in Vietnam, somehow, but this is pretty darn good, too.

When I lived in Hanoi, there was a period when I used to go to a small cafe near Ba Dinh Square and place this double breakfast order: sinh to bo and ca phe sua da (iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk). Then I'd ask the woman running the cafe to blend the two together, and I'd end up with a deliciously sweet, thick, and highly caffeinated white-milk-avocado-coffee-shake. Or whatever you want to call it.

I stopped drinking this when I could no longer fit my body through the door of her cafe...

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  1. Perhaps because I'm a bit hypoglycemic, I can totally see the goat. A glass of that sinh to bo/ca phe sua da combo should do the trick!

  2. That avocado dessert looks very good - I must try to make it!

  3. This crazy combination is doing funny things to the inside of my brain - I must try it! Think I'll surprise hubbs with it - let's see if he can guess the secret ingredient.

  4. Tangled Noodle: The combination of sweet coffee and what's basically avocado ice cream will cure any ill. And, if you're lucky, it will also inspire hallucinations of animals in your food.

    5 Star: I hope you do try it. It's one of my favorite desserts!

    Muneeba: I hope the hubbs likes it! Maybe start with a little avocado, and if he goes for it add more to the next batch? Or just go whole hog and see how he reacts. The avocado taste isn't as strong as you might think, though I wouldn't call it subtle, either. Good luck!

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  5. Oooh ice cream and avocado shake. So creamy!