One Recipe, Two Methods of Preparation
Guacamole can be prepared in two ways: with a bowl and fork or in the molcajete, a Mexican mortar and pestle. Making it in the molcajete gets the most incredible results. Let us show you both methods of preparation.
Start With the Ingredients
Fresh ingredients make the dish. Guacamole just requires a few ingredients: avocado, onion, tomato, chile serrano and cilantro. Because it is an uncooked dish, what you choose to make it with really counts. Unripe or poor quality ingredients have nowhere to hide.
How to Tell if an Avocado is Ripe
When you are choosing avocados, you want ones that are ripe but not overly mushy. To tell if an avocado is ripe, use your thumb and gently push on the top where the stem connects. This is the narrower end of the avocado. The flesh should give a little. If it doesn’t give a little, it isn’t ripe enough. If it gives too easily, it is too ripe and won’t make a good guacamole but it will make a great salsa in the blender. Don’t throw out mushy avocados.
To Lime or Not To Lime?
Should you add lime to your guacamole? I say no. I side with the great Diana Kennedy who says you should never add lime to your guacamole because it spoils the delicate balance of flavors. Can you add lime? Of course. I would recommend that you add lime sparingly to gently give the flavors an acidic boost. You want to enhance the flavor not overpower it.
Method 1 – Guacamole Made in the Molcajete
If you have a molcajete, use it to make guacamole. The results are incredible. (Check out our Video Guide to Using a Molcajete which includes a great recipe for making a rustic salsa.)
Build the Flavors in Layers
Add the onion, serrano chile, cilantro and salt to the molcajete and grind until you have a uniform paste. The paste takes on a beautiful dark green color from the cilantro.
Grinding the ingredients releases the volatile oil of the vegetables and more evenly disperses the flavors throughout the guacamole.
Method 2 – The Fork and Bowl Method
Here is the classic way to prepare guacamole if you don’t have a molcajete. You just need a large bowl and a sturdy fork. The avocados are mashed instead of ground.
How to Serve Guacamole
Serve guacamole with homemade corn tortilla chips or as a taco on a warm corn tortilla. It is a great side dish for carne asada. It is enjoyed throughout Mexico.
- 3 ripe avocados
- ¾ cup finely chopped Roma tomato
- 2 serrano chiles very finely chopped (seeded and deveined)
- 3 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons of minced cilantro
- Salt to taste (usually about ¾ of a teaspoon)
- STANDARD METHOD
- Remove the flesh of the avocados.
- Mash the avocados with the back of a fork.
- Add the other ingredients and incorporate evenly.
- Add salt to taste.
- MOLCAJETE METHOD
- Add the chopped onion, serrano chile, cilantro and salt to the molcajete.
- Grind until you have a smooth paste.
- Add the avocados to the molcajete and grind until slightly chunky.
- Add the tomatoes to the molcajete and incorporate. Do not grind the tomatoes.
- Adjust the salt.
Guacamole should be served as soon as you make it. Don't make it in advance. It doesn't keep well. It turns brown very quickly.
Don't chill the guacamole. It should be served at room temperature.
The recipe calls for two serrano chiles which make a mildly hot guacamole. Add up to 2 more serrano chiles if you want it hotter. Leaving the seeds and veins in the chiles will make it even hotter.
You can add lime juice to give it an acidic boost but add sparingly so not to overpower the flavors of the other ingredients.