What is a Molcajete?
Molcajete is not an ingredient; it’s a utensil used to make many of the beautiful 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. Of course, you can use a modern food processor to get a similar result, but there is something special about a molcajete.
How it Works
A traditional molcajete consists of volcanic rock; its abrasive texture easily breaks down when crushed and mixed. 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 each ingredient’s essential oils and flavors. Not only does it perform this task better than just about any other method, but it also doubles as a great serving dish. I serve my guacamole with warmed corn tortilla chips or fresh-cut vegetables. This recipe is your go-to recipe for basic, authentic guacamole.
*You may need special equipment: A good quality molcajete and pestle made in Mexico, blender or a blender.
Beer pairings: Dos Equis (Lager or Ambar), Sol or Tecate
Tequila: Clase Azul Reposado, Esperanto Selección Anejo, Don Julio Anejo 1942
- 4-5 whole avocado, ripe, pitted, and skin removed (Only store fully ripe avocados in a refrigerator, if they are hard, allow them to ripen on a counter.)
- 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 chopped
- 1 tsp lime juiced
- 1 tsp lemon juiced
- 1 tsp salt, kosher
- 1/2 whole tomato, seeded and chopped (optional)
- 1/3 cup queso fresco, crumbled (optional)
- 1-2 dashes of hot sauce (optional)
- Roughly chop the onion, serrano or jalapeno, and garlic. Add to the molcajete.
- Add a pinch or two of salt. Then, 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 liquid.
- To start processing the avocado, sliced lengthwise long the center around the pit. Next, twist the two avocado halves apart. Finally, 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.
- As shown above, keeping the avocado in place makes long thin vertical slices down into the avocado.
- Now slice down across the avocado, and this will cut the avocado into cubes.
- Process the cilantro/onion mixture as before with a pestle or grinder to make a smooth paste with the first two avocados.
- 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.