By Anthony Damico
The thermometer is inching upwards fast and once these April showers clear, summer will be upon us, which means vacations and suntans, not to mention my favourite part of the season: beach barbecues and cookouts. There’s nothing like getting together with a group of friends, firing up some charcoal and getting your (plant-based) grill on. When those BBQ invites start rolling in, I like to be a gracious guest and show up with something delicious.
This go-to guacamole will take the party to the next level. Pair it with last-minute store-bought tortilla chips or let it stand on its own as a side. This recipe also works in tiny Hong Kong kitchens, I have proved that over and over. It’s so popular amongst my friends that I once brought it to a Christmas dinner!
As you may already know, the colours in our foods signal the presence of different vitamins and minerals that support various functions of the body. Some of the nutrients are best absorbed with water, while others do better with fats. As well as offering many of their own, avocados provide an amazing conduit for the fat-soluble nutrients in the other guacamole ingredients.
Ingredients (for 20)
- 20 ripe avocados
- 4 medium red onions
- 2 bunches of fresh coriander leaves
- 10 jalapeños
- 4 tomatoes
- 8 limes
- 3 tbsp virgin olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
Ingredients (for 2)
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 1 handful of fresh coriander leaves
- 2 jalapeños
- 1 red tomato
- 2 limes
- 1/2 tbsp virgin olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
It’s not easy to find ripe, guacamole-ready avocados in Hong Kong. Here’s a helpful trick I learned from an avocado farmer in the US to check if an avocado is ripe and ready to use: give the stem a gentle flick of the thumb. If it falls off with little effort and has a bright green rim underneath then it’s good to go. If it doesn’t come off after a couple of tries then leave the fruit to ripen for another day.
Step 1: If there is still sand and dirt after washing everything (make sure to double check the coriander), then drain the bowl, rinse, and refill to wash again. It’s important to make sure everything is clean! When you’re finished washing you can use the bowl to collect all the food scraps for composting (if you are so eco inclined).
Step 2: Open and score the avocados before scooping into your guacamole bowl.
Step 3: Quarter and mince the jalapeños.
Step 4: Halve the limes and squeeze the juice into the bowl through a strainer to keep the seeds out.
Step 5: Add the olive oil, a tablespoon of cold filtered water and a couple pinches of salt. Grab a fork and start mashing and mixing until it looks very chunky and halfway done. Give it a taste and season accordingly. Add lime juice if necessary, but do so little by little and to taste. You want a seasoned avocado spread and not a thick lime sauce.
Step 6: Quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds (or the guacamole will be watery). Dice the tomatoes roughly the same size as the onions.
Once you’re happy with the taste, add the diced onions and tomatoes and continue to mix and mash until it is a thick spread with some visible chunks of avocado. Guacamole is more enjoyable when it isn’t all the same texture. Let is rest for about half an hour to let the flavours marry while you get ready to head to the beach.
Substitutions: White onion can be used as an alternative to red and feel free to try other chili peppers instead of the jalapeños. However, avoid using lemons instead of limes.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a summer recipe series by Asia-based Chef Anthony Damico.
After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America in New York, Chef Anthony J. Damico trained in kitchens in Texas, Barcelona, Guangdong, and Hong Kong for over a decade. In recent years, his career has focused on plant-based cuisine with international influences. He is passionate about sharing the wealth of knowledge he has accumulated to help eaters everywhere make informed decisions and create delicious dishes. Damico is also an aspiring photographer, make sure to check out his portfolio on Instagram.
Image credits: all photos by Chef Anthony Damico.