June 30, 2023
Posted: July 28, 2022 11:20 am
You’ve eaten the good stuff at your favorite Mexican restaurant. You’ve bought the mediocre stuff from the grocery store. You have lots and lots of opinions about your friend’s “authentic” guacamole recipe. And you’ve decided it’s time to try making the best guacamole yourself.
Making the decision to prepare the world’s finest guacamole is step number one. Imposter syndrome may rear its ugly head, but every long journey to guacamole greatness begins with the first step. You will no doubt have second thoughts. You may lose confidence. You will likely have questions.
Can I do it? Of course you can. Is it worth it?
It is if you have a plan, stick to the plan, and execute it flawlessly.
Will my new homemade guacamole recipe make me popular?
Yes, yes it will.
So swipe all of those doubts away, keep your eyes on the prize, and let’s get started with the basics.
Okay, so we’re really starting from the beginning. But it’s definitely important to understand what guacamole is before becoming a guacamole expert. Guacamole is a dip that is, at its very basic level, typically made from avocados, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Additional ingredients may include onions, garlic, jalapeños, and other spices. Some people add diced tomatoes, and those are the people you may or may not judge the most. For the purposes of this recipe, save the tomatoes for pasta night.
The first known mention of guacamole was in a sixteenth-century Aztec text. I imagine they didn’t have smartphones back then, but if they had smartphones, the text probably went something like:
OMG just mashed up super ripe avos with salt & chilis & I call it guacamole and it is FIRE
LOLOL I just dipped these tortillas in hot oil & CRUNCH is amazing
What you doin rn?
Be right there save me some
So maybe it went like that, or maybe it didn’t. The bottom line is that a recipe exists in the text, so we at least have that. The recipe, which included avocado, salt, and chili, was essentially the same as what we know today. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that guacamole began to spread in popularity outside of Mexico.
When it comes down to it, the best guacamole is the perfect blend of salty, savory, and slightly sweet flavors. The creaminess of the avocado is offset by the acidity of the lime juice, while the cilantro and onions add a touch of sweetness. And don’t even get me started on how good it is with chips, which add a necessary crunch just like Aztec Boo intended it to have.
Now that we know what guacamole is and who invented it, it’s time to get down to business and make some of our own. This recipe is for a pretty traditional guacamole, but feel free to add in any extra ingredients that you like. Just remember, the key to a great guacamole is simplicity.
• 3 ripe avocados – You want your avocados soft but not so soft that you feel what seems to be like an air pocket behind the skin. You may not always pick the perfect avocado, but when you do, you’ll know it as soon as you slice it open.
• 1/2 white onion, diced – White onions come in a variety of sizes, so if you’re at the grocery store and you see a variety of sizes in the pile of white onions, go with a medium-sized white onion.
• 1 jalapeño, diced – If you really want to impress your friend, pick up two serrano peppers. They’re smaller than jalepeños but pack a little more of a fiery punch, but they’re not nearly as hot as habanero peppers. Avoid habaneros unless you happen to be throwing one of those revenge parties against your enemies.
• 1/4 cup cilantro – Fresh cilantro, please.
• 2 cloves garlic, minced – If you like garlic, add another clove in there.
• 1 tsp kosher salt – We’re going to grind the kosher salt with the garlic, so make sure you’re using the larger crystals of kosher salt.
• 1 tsp ground cumin – Every pantry needs cumin, so make sure you have this for amazing guacamole and lots of other great recipes.
• 1 tbsp lime juice – Please use a fresh lime for this. If you’re not sure how to pick out a fresh lime at the grocery store, squeeze them. Skips the hard ones and find a nice and soft, juicy lime.
The secret to executing recipe is your food prep. As a very important step in the process for obvious reasons, you want to make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped.
• Cut each avocado in half and set on a cutting board. If you need anything sharper than a butter knife, then your avocadoes may not be ripe enough.
• Discard the avocado pits. There are a number of techniques about how to do this. I like using a spoon, but some prefer to stab it with a sharp knife and pull it out that way. Either way, be careful! Avocado pits can be slippery.
• Now you have six avocado halves. Scoop the avocado flesh into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Do not mush or mix. I repeat, DO NOT MUSH OR MIX THE AVOCADO. That will come later.
• Finely dice the white onion and add it to the mixing bowl. Do not mix.
• Finely chop the fresh cilantro until your kitchen smells delicious and add it to the avocado and onion. No mixing yet.
• Dice the jalapeño or serrano chilies and add them to the developing guacamole. No mixing.
• Mince the garlic and add it to a mortar if you have one or a small bowl if you don’t.
• Pour the kosher salt over the garlic in the mortar or bowl.
• With a pestle or the back of a spoon, mash the garlic and the salt together. Stir, mash, repeat, until it is a thick paste.
• Add the lime juice and the ground cumin to the paste.
• Stir, mash, repeat.
• Add the paste mixture to the mixing bowl with the avocado, onion, jalepeño, and cilantro.
• And now… MIX!
Mixing all of the ingredients together is a bit of an art form. One of the secrets to making a great homemade guacamole recipe is to not overdo the mixing step.
A next-level guacamole demands some avocado chunks. Let’s not forget that avocado is the star of the show. You might be getting all of the attention at the party when you serve this amazing dip, but let’s give credit where credit is due. And credit goes to those avocadoes.
So when you mix, use a three-pronged fork like a large serving fork if you have one. Do not use a wooden spoon or a whisk or (eek) an electric mixer. Stir slowly with a fork. Mash the avocado gently, but resist the urge to create a smooth, no-lump guac. We’re not making mashed potatoes here. We are changing the world with guacamole.
Guacamole goes great with tortilla chips, and the more authentic the tortilla chips, the better. If you think you got it in you, pick up some fresh tortillas, slice them into triangles, and fry up your own tortilla chips. While this will be a crowd pleaser, do note that you could be spending an hour or more frying up chips if you don’t own a deep fryer.
Guacamole also goes great with margaritas. Maybe it’s the lime, maybe it’s the salt, maybe it’s the party, but the bottom line is that guac tastes better with a fresh marg and margaritas tastes better with guac.
If you are serving tacos or burritos or quesadillas or taco salad, be sure to have enough guac on hand. Double or triple or quadruple the recipe if need be (and let’s be real here, having 24 beautifully green and ripe half-avocadoes on your kitchen counter makes a great Instagram post).
Guac goes great on burgers and sandwiches and chili too. And if it’s the Fourth of July, I dare you to add some guac to that hot dog. You won’t be disappointed.
Let’s be honest, there will likely be no leftovers. But if you happened to quadruple the recipe and you happen to have one Tupperware’s worth of the greatest guacamole ever leftover, then it’s worth keeping. Stick it in the fridge and enjoy it the next day. Oxidization is going to set in no matter how much lime juice is in there, but give it a stir and that dark color will go away. Eat it with scrambled eggs or make your own version of $18 avocado toast.
It is time for your guacamole journey to begin. No one can get you there but you. You have the tools. You have the ingredients. You have the will, and you now have the drive because that snooty neighbor swooped in and said she’s making guacamole too and the guacamole gauntlet has been thrown down. You are ready.
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