How to Make Authentic Guacamole with a Molcajete
One of our signature dishes is our authentic Mexican guacamole. Guacamole is soft and creamy and often served with quesadillas, tostadas, and even just plain chips. Authentic guacamole is also good with loaded potatoes, on a sandwich, or with deviled eggs. Not all guacamole is created equal. To make good guacamole, one needs the right ingredients. It stars with a molcajete.
The Traditional Molcajete
The molcajete and temolote is the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle. These has been used for thousands of years by different pre-Hispanic cultures, including the Aztec and Maya. It was first used in the Tehuacan Valley, which is now part of Mexico. The word molcajete itself has Aztec origins. It comes from “molli”, which means seasoning or sauce and “caxitl”, which means bowl.
Molcajetes were traditionally carved out of one single block of basalt, which is a fine-grained volcanic rock. Basalt is dark in color and is often found in large blocks. These blocks are formed as lava cools near the surface of the planet. True molcajetes are still made with volcanic rock, but today you can also find man-made versions that use different types of porous rock.
Molcajetes have a traditional round shape and resemble a shallow bowl, and they are supported by three short legs. Sometimes, they were decorated and colored. The molcajete couldn’t be used alone. You also need the temolote, which is the grinding tool made from the same basalt material.
How to Care for a Molcajete
If you ever want to make guacamole or salsa at home, you may be tempted to take a shortcut and use the blender. However, the difference in taste is real. With a molcajete, you have to crush and grind the food instead of blending it, which is more work but the only authentic way to prepare it.
Unlike mainstream cookware, a new molcajete needs to be cured before you can use it. To do this, you mix uncooked white rice in the molcajete and use the temolote to grind it up. It will become discolored as some of the basalt grains will mix with the rice. The process needs to be repeated until the rice flour doesn’t change color again.
Since true molcajetes are made with porous basalt, it’s impossible to completely sanitize them. The food that is made in them will carry its flavor over to the next preparation. In this way, you can compare them to a cast iron skillet, which gets seasoned with use.
How to Make Guacamole
With a molcajete in place, it’s now time to make guacamole. First, we add cilantro and jalapeno and mash them thoroughly with the temolote. Next, it’s time to add avocado. Now we sprinkle on fresh lime juice for a fresh taste. Another ingredient is our homemade pico de gallo. We finish that off with a judicious sprinkling of salt and pepper and serve it fresh with your meal. Buen apetito!
The History of Guacamole
Guacamole may be prepared in a bowl that’s thousands of years old, but the dish itself is young in comparison. The name guacamole is also derived from an Aztec dialect and literally translates to mean ‘avocado sauce’. Avocados, which are a main ingredient in guacamole, used to be called alligator pears and were first cultivated in South Central Mexico.
The United States government lifted a ban on avocado imports in the 1900s, which combined with a rise in the Latino population caused the popularity of guacamole to increase. Not surprisingly, the two days of the year with the highest consumption of avocados are Super Bowl Sunday and Cindo de Mayo.
There is at least one reason why guacamole must be enjoyed fresh. When avocado is exposed to oxygen in the air, it causes a reaction with certain enzymes which makes it develop a pigment called melanoidin. The unappetizing results are a brown sauce. Short of storing guacamole in an airtight container, it’s best to eat it after it has been freshly prepared.
Guacamole and the Dining Experience
Guacamole is only one of the many delicious, authentic Mexican dishes we serve at Agave Mexican Restaurant. It is a food that is deeply steeped in Mexican culture, but it has become favored cuisine in all of North America. Some people call it guac for short. It’s so important that there is a National Guacamole Day, which is celebrated along with Mexican Independence Day on September 16. But you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy a taste of ours!