Friday, October 1, 2010

The Best Guacamole

I have loved guacamole since the very beginning. When I was little I was afraid of spicy food, which was very difficult for me when I was traveling through India. I probably had more varieties of french fries than anyone should be allowed to eat in a country with that much good food. I used to think that pasta sauce was too spicy and ate it with either an ice cube or butter. The ice cube was to cool it down. I was weird.

So when my parents made guacamole they always had to make me a separate bowl without any peppers, and I'd always scrutinize the bowl and look up at them skeptically and ask, "Are you sure it's not spicy?"

The best thing about homemade guacamole is that it's only as spicy as you want it to be. My recipe below calls for one Serrano pepper (pictured above), which I like because it has flavor and some kick, but I scrape out most of the seeds.

If you want more heat, add a JalapeƱo (above) or even hotter, add a Habanero (below).

If you want less heat, Pasilla (below) and Anaheim peppers have less heat, but they're bigger peppers. 

But for less heat I recommend adding a Fresno pepper (below) because they're small, so even if you scrape out the seeds, you won't be getting a lot of heat.

It may take some trial and error to find what works best for you, but I recommend to stick to a heat level you're used to. But the real secret to this recipe is the cumin. It's an added flavor kick that really makes the guacamole complete. I also think that no Mexican dish is complete without lime juice and cilantro, so try not to avoid those ingredients. Traditional guacamole has a white onion, but I prefer the crunch and color of red onion. Either way, the important thing to remember when making this is that most ingredients should be added to taste. If you're going to splurge on the price of avocados and want to enjoy truly great guacamole, make it perfect for you. Also, if you want to make a much smaller portion of guacamole, use less avocados. Depending on the size of the avocados, 3 or 4 would work for 5 people.

2 Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 Red Onion, finely chopped
5 Avocados
1 1/2 tsp. Cumin, or to taste
juice of 3 limes
couple handfuls of chopped Cilantro
Black Pepper
1 Serrano Pepper, finely chopped

Cut the edges of the red onion off and peel off the skin. Cut in half, put halves in a bowl, and place in the freezer. After at least ten minutes, you will be able to chop the onion without crying.

Chop the tomatoes, cilantro, Serrano pepper, limes, and onion in advance and keep to the side.

Slide a knife into each avocado until you hit the seed, then rotate the knife evenly around the avocado until it is cut in half. Pull out the see and scrap the inside of the avocado into a large bowl. Repeat with the following avocados. With a fork, mash the avocado until only small chunks are left, but not so that it's nearly pureed.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Add more lime juice, cumin, salt, and black pepper to taste until you are thoroughly satisfied.

Serve with tortilla chips or as a side to Carne Asada or any dish. Enjoy!

Serves 6

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