What is a Molcajete?
Molcajete is not an ingredient, it’s a utensil used to make many of the wonderful Mexican foods we enjoy. Constructed of volcanic rock which dates back centuries, it is essentially a prehistoric food processor (manual, of course). Nearly every well appointed Mexican kitchen has one. You can use a modern food processor to get a similar result, but there is something special about a molcajete.
Because the traditional molcajete is made of volcanic rock, its abrasive texture easily breaks down foods when they are crushed and mixed together. Once you’ve tasted guacamole or salsa made in a molcajete, you may never go back to making it in a mixing bowl. I never have. The molcajete has a unique magic that crushes onions, chili’s, cilantro, and garlic into a mash that releases the essential oils and flavors of each ingredient. Not only does it perform this task better than just about any other method, it also doubles as a great serving dish. I serve my guacamole with warmed corn tortilla chips or fresh cut vegetables. This is your go-to recipe for basic, authentic guacamole.
*Special equipment maybe needed: A good quality molcajete and pestle made in Mexico, or a blender.
Beer pairings: Dos Equis (Lager or Ambar), Sol or Tecate
Tequila: Clase Azul Reposado, Esperanto Selección Anejo, Don Julio Anejo 1942
This is the original and best way to make guacamole. Smashing avocados in a bowl and adding jarred salsa might work in a pinch, but once you've tasted this guacamole, you won't go back. The depth and layering of flavors is unlike any other method.
- 4-5 whole ripe avocado, pit and skin removed (Never store fresh uncut avocados in a refrigerator.)
- 1/2 whole onion, preferably white or sweet (Maui/Texas)
- 2 cloves garlic, large smashed or roughly chopped
- 1-2 whole serrano or 1/2 jalapeno, seeded, stemmed and chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly choped
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 whole tomato, seeded and chopped (optional)
- 1/3 cup queso fresco, crumbled (optional)
- 1-2 dashes hot sauce (optional)
Roughly chop the onion, serrano or jalapeno, and garlic. Add to the molcajete.
Add a pinch or two of salt. Using a pestle or grinder, process the vegetables down to a mush-like consistency.
Roughly chop clean cilantro and pulverize into the onion mixture.
Add fresh, seedless lime and lemon juice to the cilantro/onion mixture. Stir to mix in the juice.
To start processing the avocado, slice lengthwise long the center around the pit. Twist the two avocado halves apart. Remove the pit and discard.
Using a large spoon, work around the edge of the avocado and underneath to pop out the avocado half.
To dice, slice the avocado first along the horizontal in thirds or two slices as shown in the image above.
Keeping the avocado in place, make long thin vertical slices down into the avocado as shown above.
Now slice down across the avocado and this will cut the avocado into cubes.
With the first two avocados, process into the cilantro/onion mixture as before with a pestle or grinder to make a smooth paste.
With the last two or three avocados, dice and fold them into the guacamole mixture instead of pulverizing them.
(Optional) Add seeded and diced tomato to the guacamole. Check to see if the guacamole needs salt or extra citrus juice.
With a rubber spatula, smooth out the appearance of the guacamole and top with queso fresco/radish slices (optional).
Serve with warmed corn tortilla chips or fresh cut vegetables.
If you don't have a molcajete and don't wish to purchase one, you can get a similar result using a blender or food processor. Just add the onion, garlic, serrano or jalapeno, cilantro, salt and lime/lemon juice and process to liquify. Pour out into a large mixing bowl and add the diced avocado and tomato. Mix up just like the recipe above.
To keep guacamole fresh lightly oil (or juice extra lime/lemon on top of guacamole) a piece of plastic wrap where it will come in contact with the guacamole. Lightly press down the plastic wrap covering the top and refrigerate. What you are trying to do is to keep as much of the oxygen as possible from the guacamole.