There is really only one dip in Mexico and it is guacamole. At local parties you won’t see the trite onion dip, yogurt with herbs dip, even bean dip, unless you are at the home of a foreigner. If you are lucky enough to have Mexican friends who invite you to a fiesta, there will be guacamole to start things off. This is an easy recipe — all guacamole is easy to prepare — with one difference from the usual. Instead of mashing all the avocado, I cube one third of it and stir the pieces into the mashed avocado for added texture and chunkiness. And it is full of all the veggies you find in salsa.
It was almost a chore to have to follow a recipe for guacamole, but I had to in order to give you the amounts. But from now on, I won’t use a recipe, and you won’t need to either after you’ve made it one time. This is the kind of dish you just eyeball and taste-test. More tomato? A little more onion for crunch? Your tongue will tell you how much salt, lime juice and chile. You can cut back or increase any of the amounts to change the proportion of veggies.
Just don’t add mayonnaise, whatever you do. There are actually recipes that call for this, as if a ripe avocado isn’t creamy and rich enough. Pureed peas (?) and onion powder (please!) are also not allowed. This is the real thing, made with traditional ingredients.
My Favorite Guacamole
- 3 ripe avocados
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 3 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1-2 serrano chiles, minced; seeded if you want less heat
- juice of 1 or 2 small limes
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
- Cilantro leaves and radish slices for garnish
- tostadas (corn tortilla chips)
- Roughly mash 2 avocados with a fork. Cut the remaining avocado into small chunks or cubes.
- Combine remaining ingredients.
- Adjust salt, chile and lime juice if needed. Don’t be shy of salt — it can make a flat flavor stand up and be noticed.
- Garnish and serve with tostadas
~ If you make guacamole ahead of time, don’t stir in the lime juice. Instead, mix everything else together and pour the lime juice over the surface, making sure it covers completely. This will prevent the guacamole from darkening. Stir in the juice at serving time. Or press clear plastic wrap onto the surface.
~ Cilantro stems are edible and tasty. Discard the tough, larger stems, but keep the tender ones. They taste just as good as the leaves and add crunch.
~ A little etymology, thanks to Wikipedia: “Guacamole” comes from an Aztec dialect via the Nahuatl word, āhuacamolli, from āhuacatl (“avocado”) + molli (“sauce”). Nahuatl is the language of the Aztecs and still spoken today in small villages in central Mexico.
~ And gracias to the Aztecs for giving guacamole to the world!