A traditional molcajete, good quality avocados and seasoning. Together these elements can transform this simple dish into an amazing one.
Guacamole made to order
A molcajete is a traditional, three-legged Mexican pestle and mortar made of stone. I brought my molcajete back from Mexico, and we use it in the restaurant to make every single dish of guacamole as soon as it’s ordered. There’s none of that off the shelf, ready prepared stuff in the Pinche kitchen! When you order guacamole, we open, scoop, and gently mash the avocados there and then. We don’t pummel the avocados because we believe it’s important for the guacamole to have texture. Gentle mashing also keeps the beautiful olive and white colours of the avocado flesh visible. We then serve the guacamole straight away for maximum freshness and flavour.
And the Aztecs said balls!
Mexicans have been enjoying guacamole for hundreds of years at least. When the Spanish arrived, they raved about the simple but delicious dish they encountered. The Aztecs called it ‘ahacamolli’. It’s a mix of ‘ahuacatl’ for avocado and ‘molli’ meaning something that is mashed.
‘Ahuacatl’ also means ‘testicle’, which I’m sure is a reference to shape rather than size in most cases 😉
But the Spanish had difficulty pronouncing ‘ahacamolli’ and over time, the Aztec version of the name became ‘guacamole’, the word we know today.
Our recipe has stayed true to the name save for a few additions. We include fresh lime juice and salt: I think it’s important to get the balance between these two right. Coriander is an important flavour, as is onion, tomato and jalapeño chile. I also add pumpkin seeds for extra crunch. Great guacamole has texture and Mexicans often use seeds as a thickener. We then serve it with white and blue corn tortillas.
Know your avocados
Of course, quality avocados will also separate the men from the boys in guacamole terms. There are many types out there but I swear by Hass avocados. They’re readily available, and I think they make the best guacamole. We select avocados that are ripe and soft to touch but not squishy, bruised or discoloured inside. Avocados feature throughout Mexican cuisine, and they pop up a lot on our menu too: as a garnish on our tacos, in our soup, in our salads and in one of our salsas. Unsurprisingly, Mexico dominates production in the world avocado market and it wouldn’t be unusual for your supermarket stock to come from there. All the better, as these guys know their avocados!
Avocado is viewed by a lot of people as a superfood as it’s bursting with goodness – vitamins, minerals, ‘good’ fat and fibre – which all make guacamole a tasty, healthy, guilt free dish. Anyone for seconds?!