The bestest, ever everest, guacamole !
The ingredients, the method, the experience.
We re-discovered guacamole, after falling in love with a delicious experience at a favourite cocktail bar last summer.
Simply the best
We were peckish ( a little hungry ) and it was the only thing on the menu ! Actually, we love that – just one great thing on the menu… when it´s brilliantly done. Simple… no time was wasted deciding what to eat, and no stress wondering if we´d chosen the right , or the best thing on the menu. Then, to top it off, there was a little surprise when it arrived ! We´ll share the details in the new travel section soon.
Image: DIY Guacamole
It was served promptly, just how we like it… well… once we mixed it ourselves. It arrived with the ingredients layered in a large mortar style bowl, along with a pestle. Chips on the side. So we could see all the ingredients, but had to make our own guacamole by smashing and mixing it – a D.I.Y. version. It looked beautiful, tasted amazing and we loved the bowl. It was such a fun, interactive experience that it prompted a lot of discussion.
What makes the best guacamole?
How far do you go with the mixing ? Which chilli pepper is best – jalapeño green, or red chili, fresh or dried flakes, or ground, and what about just using general mixed red pepper flakes? Does it have to be limes or will lemon ever do ? Raw garlic pieces or minced garlic or any garlic ? Red, white or yellow onions, and how fine should you chop ?
Can you add anything else – ground cumin or coriander, mint leaves instead of cilantro? But the most fundamental question debated is … should guacamole even have tomatoes in it ? And so, the ‘best’ guacamole conversation started. Our daughter says no no no to tomatoes in it. I do agree with her that a classic guacamole doesn´t have tomatoes – think of Nachos where the tomato salsa is separate. But we´re talking here about the best guacamole, not the purist, classical one.
Tomatoes in, or out ?
We did a poll
´Tomatoes in ´won ! And I also agree that tomatoes in it takes guacamole to a new level. You could go on, I´ve seen smoked salmon in it… but that´s bordering on a ceviche ! Now I´m hungry for it for lunch today, while I finish this post. See how I adulterated it at the bottom of the page ! And please feel free to add a comment at the bottom of the page if you agree or disagree. Let the poll continue !
the best recipe
We trawled the internet for the best recipe and this post from downshiftology caught my eye. To be fair, it came up first on a search but we did check out lots of others first, but still loved theirs best.
So my recipe is based on that. I was so keen to make it but I didn´t have any fresh chilis in the house, and I didn´t want to have it too finely chopped or mushy. That way, it looked more like a whole meal, and that´s what we had, with some plain tortilla chips, and a nice glass of rosé .
the basic list
Kosher salt flakes
cilantro / coriander leaves
let’s not forget the cilantro / coriander leaves… yes it’s the icing on the cake. But I did just that the first time I made this, I forgot to add the coriander, and was surprised how delicious it still was ! So don´t let that stop you. Just taste test to get the balance right between salt, acid, sweet, fat and umami and you´ll be fine.
The best thing about guacamole is that it´s hard to make a bad one ! So you don´t have to be a purist to get started. Just go ahead and start, and keep refining it from there. But to make the best one, you have to choose the best ingredients.
the best ingredients
To be the best guacamole, you have to have the best ingredients – fresh, and full of flavour.
Which Chili to use
Apparently, the chili should be jalapeno. I like freshly chopped chilis if we have them, but use a glove when chopping.
Don´t let this stop you for now. I´ve used a sprinkle of dried chili flakes, a pinch of powdered cayenne pepper, or even a splash or 3 of a chili hot sauce.
But to make the real deal here it´s best to have the green Jalapeño. I keep some de-hydrated ones in the cupboard.
Look for chipotle if you like it a little smoky flavor because after all they are just smoked dried jalapeño. They´re good for adding some heat to anything you´re making.
Or, even better, get sliced (usually pickled) jalapeños as they´re also so yummy to snack on, or add to meats and cheese plates – and it saves you having to cut and de-seed them for the guacamole. When I use these I find I need to add some ground cumin to balance the vinegar in it – try it !
Whatever you have, you should always have at least one of these in your essentials cupboard. It all works.
I see the DIY version at the cocktail bar had some little red chili too. Just play with what you know when it comes to adding chili – that’s the safest way.
I hate to find pieces of raw garlic. So mince it, grate it, blend it, do whatever you need to mush it. Then it will mingle and enhance everything else and not stand out on its’s own. And don´t add too much !
The recipe says Roma so that there isn´t too much liquid- but I used any salad tomatoes I had – luckily they were similar to Roma!
I realized this is important because you don´t want the tomatoes to make your guac. too liquidy. Roma is a nice medium flavour and texture, somewhere between pulpy, and acidic.
Sometimes I like to chop up little cherry tomatoes. They also tend to come in a variety of colours so they make a really vibrant dish.
Most of the time I like to have cubes of avocado, rather than mashed avocado. You don´t always have the choice though. It can be a surprise when you cut the avo open, and find it´s already very creamy. In fact, the guacamole I´m making for lunch today is just like that. I´m having to spoon loads off the inside of the skin. Creamy means tasty however so I don´t mind ! I have another solution to have them firm enough to chop… in the tips section further down the page.
There are different varieties of avocado – smooth skin and pimply skin. I find the smooth skinned ones are more creamy and sweeter. You know they´re ripe when they´re still firm to touch, but have just a little give. As they can turn quite quickly I find it best to buy them bright and green, at least a few days before I want to eat them. Leave them out of the fridge till the skin is a mix of dark and light. I even put them in with apples in the fruit bowl to ripen them faster ( see my post about how the ethylene works and how to make your food last longer. ) Use the fridge to pause the ripening if you´re not ready to eat the. Once the skin goes to a dark green / purple colour you´re in the danger zone and who knows when they will suddenly go off !
Use good quality flakes if you can, not crunchy crystals. Our favourite for everything, is these Maldon sea salt flakes.
1/2 a small onion
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1 finely diced chili pepper ( no seeds)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime , juiced ( minimum 2 teaspoons per avocado )
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
MASH or smash ?
Remove the skin and stone of the avocados, the skin of the onion, (and skin of the tomato if that´s your preference ).
Then chop or slice everything up as finely as you like. Just think of how you like experience it in your mouth !
If you like a fine consistency, just finely mince the herbs and garlic, and chop everything else finely. If you like it coarse, chop coarsely. So it’s easy, just prepare each ingredient as you like to eat it.
Also, think about how you´re going to eat it – practically.
So, mix, mash till smooth with a fork, or just smash with a spoon or a potato masher. I love a mash or smash – my favourite, which is why I loved the DIY mortar and pestle version.
It takes about 10 mins to prepare, serves 4 as a snack, or 2 if you’re greedy, and it ends up being your lunch !
We like it chunky !
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tools and tips
mincing the garlic
You need this Micro grater !
Minced garlic is a must for me and this is the best ! I even get the garlic smell of my fingers by washing them with the steel of the grater ! Works brilliantly. We keep our microplane stored with the knives now because we use it just as often as picking up a kitchen knife. You can get different size graters but I think the fine one we have is best for mincing garlic, lemon or ginger. We still use the box grater for bigger grating, e.g for carrots.
Chopping and slicing
knives and boards
We like to use our large chef knife for almost every kind of chopping, and big long lasting commercial style boards. They both last us forever ! Using the right colour board for the right food is a pet nag of mine, well especially the red for meat and blue for fish. Brown is best for salads and fruit please. If I´m using white, in a rental apt, I either use a small one for citrus or onions, or turn the big one over for the onions !
Mashing and serving
You´ll need a bowl for mixing and one for serving, or a Mortar & Pestle for both !
My sister bought us this mighty useful set (bowls, sieve and cup measuring set) from Joseph Joseph. It’s such a useful all in one set that we kept it when we simplified our life !
This guacamole experience made me miss my dark green Irish connemara marble mortar and pestle – is it also in a box in a UK attic ? Truth be told, I can´t remember but it was a wedding present and I know I wouldn´t want to part with it forever. Ah but then I was looking at new ones, and fell in love with grey granite one . Lo and behold they actually call it a guacamole bowl too – so it´s a thing ! Click over to see because there´s also a polished black one I like… so is it to the marketplace when I find my green one !
And serve with nacho chips / tortilla chips. I find they are really difficult to buy now.
I really have to search for the original ones without any added flavours.
3 top tips
If they’re a bit firm, roll them on the counter, or halve and pop in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen the juice. Here´s another tip to repalce the limes if you´ve run out ! I haven´t tried this in guacamole, but I have replaced limes in other dishes this way and we find it works well ! Try using lemon with a half teaspoon of elderflower cordial !
I’ve even used frozen avocado and it works perfectly. If I have leftover avo I chop it into chunks and freeze it before it has a chance to go off. It’s so easy then to take it out and add to salads, or make a guacamole. The frozen avo is easy to chop into – it never freezes so hard that you can’t slice it – must be all that fat ! So if you like your guacamole chunky, eat it pretty soon after defrosting.
how to store leftover avocado and guacamole.
Did you know that you can save guacamole for up to a week in Tupperware? Pop it in a dish or Tupperware, make the top nice and flat (use the back of a large spoon), and just gently pour some cold water on top like a seal. You´ll need about 0.5 inches, then pop a lid on top. It really works, and the less liquidy your guacamole is, to begin with, the longer it lasts. Hence the tips to use tomatoes that aren´t too mushy wet. When you want to eat it again, just drain the water off carefully, and tada! You have nice fresh-looking guacamole, looking nice and green – not brown as it would do if you just left it without the water topping.
I´ve used water and it worked for a few days. I´ve also seen it recommended to use lime juice instead of water, and pour that off before using again but what a waste of lime juice, and surely that would alter the flavour.
Today, a lovely reader Nouna, sent me a tip about storing half avocados in the same way! Now, why didn´t I think of that? Put your half avocado, flesh side up in a dish or Tupperware, and cover with water as above, then put a lid on. And here´s another one I haven´t tried yet… put your half avocado in a tub with a chunk of onion – apparently, the sulfur released from the onion stops the avocado from browning. if you try it before me, please let us know in the comments if it works.
Enjoy your guacamole, however you like it. There are still so many options we didn´t discuss, like adding fruits like pomegranite or mango, or toasted corn, or bacon or dried ham bits. Also adding different spices! If I was to add cumin for example, I wouldn´t add the tomatoes, and I´d mash it till its almost smooth !
Today, I made the usual guacamole, and some quick home-made flour tortillas from this great, easy recipe from sprinkles and sprouts. A great success first time ! I had some frozen cod in the freezer so cooked that for a few minutes in the microwave and then finished it in the frying pan with a little butter. I flaked them with a fork and mixed it in with the guacamole in one wrap and it was sooooo delicious, we´ll be having it again ! Next time, I´ll take a photo… when I learn how to make my wraps nice and round !
I think the classic guacamole has now just become a base for the world to explore. So enjoy every way, and as many ways as you can ! Leave us your favourite way in the comments.