Sunday, July 4, 2010

Middle Eastern/Mexican Avocado Dip

Trying to make guacamole in England is a lesson in perpetual frustration. It is case in point why Mexican food has never really, well, flourished here.

It's a simple question of ingredients. The humble avocado, needing the warm watery environs of places like California or Mexico, does not do well in the land of fish and chips. Avocados are not happy here. The ones offered at the grocery store are small green rocks. Even if you try and ripen these bad boys at home, most of your efforts will be in vain. They will go from rock to mush with about a 5 second window of "perfectly ripe".

As such, making anything that requires the beautiful soft texture of a ripe avocado is foolhardy. To avoid said foolhardiness but still wanting an avocado-based dip,

I solved this issue by just thoroughly mashing the crap out of an avocado, thus bypassing the texture issue altogether. It also involved tahini, a new-found love of mine.

This dip was gone in minutes, literally. Have it with tortilla chips in appreciation of its Mexican side, pita chips for its Middle Eastern side, or  raw veggies if you want to go the healthy way.

Makes about 1 cup of dip


2 cloves garlic, cut in half, green shoots removed

Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste

2 ripe avocados

3 tablespoons sesame tahini

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or lime juice, if you want more of a hint of Mexican flavors)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground (to taste) (or simply ground cumin)


1. Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mash to a smooth paste. Cut the avocados in half, pit them and scoop out from the skins. Add to the mortar and pestle, and mash together with the garlic until the mixture is smooth. Work in the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and additional salt to taste.

2. Scrape into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, setting the wrap right on top of the avocado. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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