Saturday 14 July 2007

soupe d'avocat abidjanaise (avocado soup)

This recipe from Côte d'Ivoire seems to be all over the internet and would be great for those currently experiencing warm summer days in the northern hemisphere.

The thick soup has a wonderful creamy texture and the lime juice and spicy Tabasco cuts through perfectly.

In Côte d'Ivoire they have purple, thin skinned avocadoes which are not always readily found outside Africa, but other avocado types will do the job regardless.

Now that I've added Côte d'Ivoire, I've managed to cook and post recipes from 39 countries!

Soupe d'Avocat Abidjanaise (Abidjan Avocado Soup)

This recipe comes from Soup Song. Serves 2.

1 very ripe avocado
400ml cups cold vegetable stock
¼ cup lime juice
3 heaped tablespoons plain yoghurt
2 generous splashes of Tabasco
Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Puree avocado flesh in a blender. Gradually add the stock and continue processing until smooth.

2. Blend in the lime juice, yoghurt, Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

3. When ready to serve, spoon into bowls, top each with a thin lime slice, and sprinkle a little Tabasco sauce over each portion.

Oil painting by Michael Naples

Côte d'Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast, is a small West African nation bordering Liberia, Mali, Guinea, Ghana and Burkina Faso. It gained independence from France in 1960 and was then led by moderate Félix Houphouët-Boigny until the 1990s. After he died the country feel into civil war. Although this disrupted their economic development, Côte d'Ivoire is still one of the most successful West African countries.

The people in Côte d'Ivoire are culturally diverse and have around 65 different languages between them. French is the official language that unites the population.

Most people are either Catholic or another form of Christianity, although there is an animist population and increased migration from neighbouring countries means a significant Muslim population also.

According to Wikipedia, 4% of the population is of non-African ancestry (mostly descendants of French colonists as well as Vietnamese and Spanish citizens and missionaries from the United States and Canada.

The word avocado comes from an Aztec language (Nahuatl) ahuacatl, via Spanish aguacate and means “testicle”. Perhaps because of its appearance, the Aztecs believed avocadoes were an aphrodisiac and called it "the fertility fruit". Apparently during avocado harvesting, virgins were kept indoors to prevent any promiscuity taking place.

This reputation stuck with the avocado for such a long time and many people in South America wouldn’t eat it because they wanted to appear wholesome. Companies had to undertake serious PR campaigns to dispel the myths and get the fruit out to the public.

The Nahuatl word ahuacatl makes up other words like ahuacamolli, meaning "avocado soup/sauce” which the Spanish transformed into guacamole.

In 2005, the world’s top ten avocado producing nations were, in order: Mexico, Indonesia, USA, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Peru, China and Ethiopia. As trees need well aerated soils and subtropical or tropical climates to thrive, this makes sense.

Propagation by seed takes around 5 years to produce fruit and the quality is never as good as the parent tree. Commercial plantations therefore graft new seedlings.

Avocadoes mature on the tree but ripen once harvested. The fruit is high monounsaturated fat contents and contains 60% more potassium than bananas, vitamin Bs, vitamin E, vitamin K and folate.

In Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines, Jamaica and Indonesia avocadoes are blended with sugar and milk to create a milkshake.

It is also interesting to note that avocado foliage, skin and pits are said to poison animals such as birds, cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits and fish.

Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by Susan from Food Blogga but if herbs and veggies don't tickle your fancy then I recommend you check out her post on the biggest lobsters I've ever seen.




  1. avocado season is starting here so this is perfect! thanks! :D we more commonly call it zaboca here :) never heard of a jamaican avocado milkshake, i'll ask my mom :)

  2. i've seen the avocado milkshakes from vietnam and indonesia, but i read about the other ones in wikipedia . . . sometimes a dubious source so please let me know whether jamaicans really do drink them too.

  3. What a great post, and I am so impressed with all this international cooking you're doing. I love avocado! Just plain with sea salt is fine with me, but any recipe that has avocado, you can be sure I'd like it. And who knew that it was once a sign of moral decline to eat them? Good thing I didn't hear about it, I might have eaten more of them, rebellious as I am.

  4. Anna, this is a splendid entry for WHB--thank you so much! Who knew the avocado could be so fascinating and risque? ;) I buy avocadoes every week and will certainly try this recipe. And kudos to you for cooking from 39 countries; that is quite an accomplishment!

  5. The lime juice and tabasco sound perfect - avocado soup can almost be too rich, a little heat would offset that nicely.
    Now I can feel slightly naughty when I enjoy my avocados.... even if it's not true, it's fun!

  6. First time visitor here (Thanks to WHB) and if this soup is as good as the music from Cote D'ivoire....I've gotta try this!

  7. hee mom said she never heard of avocado milkshakes and i couldn't find any on jamaican recipe sites so it may just be an individual thing or a rumour lolz :) still gona make this soup tho! as well as the asian shakes which i did look up :D


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