Soupe d’avocat abidjanaise, or cold avocado soup (Côte d’Ivoire)

Côte d’Ivoire is a country in West Africa, also known as Ivory Coast. As the name suggests it is a former colony of France and French remains the official language. Religion-wise it is quite heterogenous, with large populations practicing Christianity, Islam and their mixtures with local religions. In the past 15 years it has experienced two civil wars and a coup. Interestingly the country’s capital Yamoussoukro only has 1/10 of the population of the most populous city Abidjan. Côte d’Ivoire is most infamous for its cocoa industry, as it provides about 1/3 of the world’s cocoa and a large part of the workforce at the cocoa plantations are children, who may be victims of human trafficking or slavery. Coffee is also a major export.

The Ivorian cuisine is similar to the other West African cuisines. Especially plantains, yams, cassava, corn and peanuts are ubiquitous. Othe popular ingredients include chicken, fish, shrimp, millet, rice, avocado, okra, eggplants, onions, tomatoes, bananas, coconut and many fruits. Ivorians also eat snails. Food is often prepared into slowly simmered stews, which may be spicy. Lime juice is often used as a seasoning. Bay leaves, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and garlic are also popular. Ivorians have one distinct specialty: open-air restaurants called maquis, which usually serve braised chicken and fish dishes.

This recipe is suggested as a rich first course for four people, but I halved it. I used less stock than in the recipe, but it still didn’t turn out very thick like the recipe suggests (depends on your definition of thick, of course). It was okay, but I found the avocado flavour too diluted with all that liquid.

Soupe d’avocat abidjanaise

Cold avocado soup

1 very ripe avocado
2 cups/5 dl (or less) vegetable or vegan “chicken” stock
2 tbsp lime juice
0.5 tbsp soy yoghurt
a hefty dash of Tabasco sauce
salt and black pepper

Plend all the ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve cold as a starter for 2-4 people, garnished with thin lime slices and a little Tabasco sauce.

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