Monday, February 8, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: The Use Of A Molcajete In Preparing Guacamole

This post perhaps comes a bit late.  I am not the biggest football fan, and this year my husband (who is) and I watched the Superbowl from home, with our pug Dakota on the couch by our side.  I did, however, prepare my classic guacamole for us for the Superbowl, using a molcajete.  A molcajete is basically a mortar and pestle made out of volcanic rock, and is an essential kitchen tool for making high quality guacamole.  The molcajete was first used by the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures (and might even go back further than that in different forms), and is most commonly used today (primarily in Mexican and South American cooking) to grind spices, and prepare salsas and guacamole.  It works because the basalt (the volcanic rock) provides an excellent porous grinding surface,  Basically, the guacamole acquires the perfect texture by grinding the avocado into the basalt.  You can get one at either Crate & Barrel (where I got mine as a wedding registry gift a few years back) or William Sonoma.

The guacamole was the perfect Superbowl dish as we watched the Saints bring the Lombardi Trophy to the City of New Orleans.  Here's how I make my signature guacamole:

2 medium sized avocados
1 tomato, diced with the seeds removed
1/4 of a small to medium sized onion, diced
2 T lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (this is not an especially spicy guacamole, if you prefer more heat, add more red pepper flakes or use cayenne pepper)

First, mash and grind the avocados using the texture of the molcajete.  Let the air bubbles in the volcanic rock do the work.

Dice the tomato and onion and mix both of those ingredients in the mix.  The season with salt and pepper, and add the red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to add the desired heat.  Finally, my secret ingredient here, cumin, is actually an Indian spice - I always add about half a teaspoon.  This may sound strange with guacamole, but let me assure you that it tastes amazing and is well worth trying out.  I prefer my guacamole without cilantro (although I love cilantro in salsa).

Enjoy, for the next big game.  For Eric's chicken fajitas with guacamole, click here.  If you are reveling in the Saints victory and are ready for Mardi Gras to start early this year, check out my recipe for New Orleans beignets (creole doughnuts), or Matt's recipe for Cajun Jambalaya.


1 comment:

  1. Terrific post replete with great pictures to illustrate the process. One question though - when do you incorporate the lime juice?


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