Living in Texas then California when I was a kid, I pretty much grew up eating authentic guacamole from a very young age.
Avocados trees were so abundant in California back then — most of our neighbors had at least one tree in their backyard, although we didn’t. Since the fruits on a tree mature all at the same time, we’d often wake up to find bags of avocados left on our front step by people who were getting tired of eating them.
Fortunately, that never happened to me: I adore avocados, and I’m crazy about guacamole. But when I moved to the Midwest I was horrified to find people adding things mayonnaise to their “guacamole”. That’s not guacamole, it’s avocado dip!
At it’s simplest, guacamole is just avocados mashed with lime juice and seasoned with salt. Most authentic recipes (including mine) add cilantro, but if you don’t like the taste just leave it out. Others add minced onion and diced bell peppers, or salsa, all of which change the texture too much for my liking.
Then there’s considerable debate about whether garlic, Mexican oregano, cumin or chili powder belong in guacamole. I usually skip them, though I’ve been known to add chopped, seeded tomatoes when I’m running short on avocados and long on guests.
So, while there is only one way to correctly pronounce guacamole (the first syllable is pronounced wah not guh-wah — the G is silent), there are plenty of flavor variations on guacamole… and none of them include peas!
One other thing: please make your guacamole using a molcajete (a stone mortar and pestle) or by mashing it with a fork, and not in a food processor or blender. The small chunks of avocado are part of what makes guacamole a treat for the tongue!
How To Make Authentic Guacamole
Serves: 3 cups
- 3 large or 5 small Haas avocados (the black ones)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- Sea salt to taste
Optional (though not authentic):
- 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- ½ red onion, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pit.
- Scoop the flesh of the avocados into the bowl.
- Immediately add half the lime juice and begin mashing with a pestle or the back of a fork. Leave small chunks of avocado intact for the best texture.
- Gently stir in the jalapeno or Serrano and half the cilantro.
- Add optional ingredients if using.
- Adjust salt, lime juice and cilantro to taste.
Equipment I Use For This: