Iced Avocado and Coffee Drink (Es Alpukat)

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Avocado (Photo credit: djwtwo)

In the U.S., avocados are most often eaten in savory dishes, sliced to adorn salads or made into guacamole.

As a little girl, my mum would make us a very simple snack–she’d halve an avocado, drizzle some palm sugar syrup (made by melting gula jawa a.k.a.  arenga palm sugar) over each half and hand us a spoon. I’d scoop out the flesh bit by little bit, making sure I got a good dose of caramelly syrup with each spoonful of creamy avocado.

I still eat avocados this way once in awhile but I’m more likely to make es alpukat, a light and refreshing that satisfies my craving for something sweet on a hot summer day.  Es alpukat (literally iced avocado) is ubiquitous in Indonesia, available at just about any restaurant or at a street-side stall, but it’s easy enough to make at home.

The name makes no mention of it but coffee is usually added to the drink. You can always leave it out or substitute with chocolate milk.

What’s your favorite way with avocados?

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Iced Avocado and Coffee Drink (Es Alpukat)

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Es Alpukat is the perfect dessert if you are following a heart-healthy diet. The rich, creamy flesh of avocado gives this drink richness and body but it contains “good” mono and polyunsaturated fats, is naturally cholesterol-free as well as being chock full of nutrients like Vitamin E and folate. So you can drink up guilt-free. The Indonesian way is to serve it over ice and scoop out the avocado chunks with a spoon, but you can blend it like a milkshake–and add ice cream!– if you prefer.

Makes: 4 (1-cup) servings

1 large ripe Hass avocado
1/3 cup espresso plus 2/3 cup water, or 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
1/4 cup Pandan Syrup (see below)
Chocolate syrup (optional)
Ice cubes

Using a tablespoon, scoop avocado flesh in bite-sized chunks  into a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, squirt the chocolate syrup to coat the insides of 4 tall, clear glasses. Divide the mixture equally. Add ice cubes and sprinkle with ground coffee  just before serving.

Pandan Syrup

All this is is a rich simple syrup steeped with pandan leaves with a 2:1 sugar-to-water ratio so you can adjust amounts according to your needs. Use one pandan leaf for every cup of sugar. The cooled syrup can be bottled and keeps in the refrigerator for up to two months. You can use the syrup to sweeten teas and other mixed drinks too.

Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 2-1/2 cups

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 pandan leaves, trimmed and tied into separate knots

In a medium (2-quart) saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and stir continuously until the sugar dissolves, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the leaves and pour the syrup into a jar or bottle. Refrigerate for up to two months.

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Spicy! A Cup of Ginger Tea for Your Winter Woes

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That’s how I’d describe my mum’s ginger tea, or as it’s called in Indonesian, wedang jahe. Ginger tea is wonderful on a cold wintry day. I love how the viscous liquid slides down my throat and warms my chest–it’s my drink of choice as I curl up in front of a toasty fire for a riveting read (no offense to all you hot chocolate fans out there). My mum insists that the secret to great ginger tea is daun pandan (pandan or screwpine leaf) syrup. “Supaya harum,” she says, or to make it smell good.

So the first step is to make the pandan syrup…

Pandan Syrup

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All it is is a simple syrup steeped with pandan leaves. You can find pandan leaves frozen (and to my utter delight, sometimes fresh!) at any Asian grocery store. This heady, fragrant leaf (I’ve heard people describe it’s flavor and fragrance as coconut-ty and it’s even compared to buttered popcorn!). Sometimes called the Asian vanilla, the pandan leaf, in my opinion, has no substitute.

Like all simple syrups, the ratio of sugar to water is 2:1 so you can adjust amounts according to your needs. Use 1 pandan leaf for every cup of sugar. The cooled syrup can be bottled and keeps in the refrigerator indefinitely.  You can use the syrup to sweeten regular tea too.

Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 2-1/2 cups

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 pandan leaves, trimmed and tied into separate knots

In a medium 2-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring a boil. Lower heat and stir continuously until sugar dissolves, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove leaves and reserve syrup.

My Mum’s Wedang Jahe a.k.a. Ginger Tea

Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 8 servings

8 oz fresh ginger root (2 knobs, each about the size of your palm)
4 cups water
1/2 cup pandan syrup (above)

Smash ginger with flat part of a cleaver or large knife’s blade until the skin splits and the inner flesh is exposed.

In a large 6 quart pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the stronger the ginger tea.

Strain and serve.