When I first came to Australia and started exploring the local offerings of Mexican food – I was gob-smacked when I saw a creamy, pale green concoction being flogged as “guacamole”. Surely, I thought, the lovely avocados in Australia wouldn’t yield such a pasty mush… That’s when I found out that many Aussies thought guacamole was a mix of mostly sour cream and a smear of avocado. Yikes!
I could see I had a lot of work ahead of me. Let’s start with the basics: the word ‘guacamole’ is taken from the ancient Nathuatl (e.g. ‘Aztec’) words for avocado (āhuaca), and sauce (mōlli); literally avocado-sauce or more loosely avocado mix. In other words, the avocado is the main attraction, not a cheap side-show! Yet like a good team, the star and the rest of the team must work together well.
Over the years, it’s been heartening to see most Aussies have cottoned-on to this. And my work as an Ambassador for Avocados Australia has helped chefs around the country explore new ways of serving this wonderful fruit. But there are still pockets where people are adding more and more ingredients to the mix to ‘add flavour’. So I’m going to keep trying…
The following recipe is a staple for my home entertaining, as well as our cooking classes, hands-on corporate cookery and interactive catering events. Simply put, superb guacamole depends on perfectly ripe and flavourful avocados and little else. Once you have mastered this recipe, feel free to have a play with different ingredients to find the flavours that you like most to enhance the avocado, but for every 1 you add, take 1 out. Think of it as a sports team – you’re only allowed so many players and you have to get the best you can within certain limits. The result will be infinitely better than just filling the field with more team members!
And remember, the peak of avocado season is Australia is the winter, so start practising now!
4 ripe avocados
6 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 red onion, diced
1-2 jalapeno chillies, stemmed, seeded, diced
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tomatoes, diced
- Cut the avocados in half and remove the seed. Scoop the avocado out with a large spoon and place into a mixing bowl.
- Mash with fork until chunky. Do not over do it!
- Add the remaining ingredients and combine with a fork.
- Serve in large bowl if using for a dip.
Note: Avocadoes are ripe when they yield to gently fingertip pressure. The black, bumpy skin Haas variety is preferred because of its rich flavour. Guacamole should be mixed using only hand implements.
Yield about 3-4 cups, serving about 12 for a buffet