On a recent vacation in Mexico, I learned to make guacamole in a molcajete – the rough stone mortar used for thousands of years to prepare salsas and to grind spices. After I returned home, I purchased a molcajete, and have been making guacamole in it ever since. Some say the flavors are best in the molcajete because of the gradual seasoning of the stone, although I can’t tell the difference between guacamole made in my molcajete or by grinding the onions and peppers in a food mill. Both methods are described here.

As for the recipe – this is the one I returned with from my Baja stay. It is a traditional guacamole that uses only onion, serrano chili, cilantro, tomatoes, and avocado. Diana Kennedy, the well-known food anthropologist and specialist in native Mexican cuisine, emphasizes that traditional recipes don’t call for lime and that its use detracts from the subtle essence of the avocados. However, I have been known to add a little fresh lime juice to brighten the dish and have even added a little cumin and hot sauce from time to time. The mark of a great recipe is that it lends itself to variation.


  • ½ white onion – diced
  • 2 Serrano chilis – diced (or to taste)
  • 1/2 Cup cilantro – chopped
  • 3 avocados – ripe
  • 2 Roma tomatoes – seeded and chopped
  • 1 lime – debatable


Take half of the onion, chilis, and cilantro and grind them to a paste-like consistency. Peel and remove the flesh of the avocados and mash them coarsely with a fork, making sure to mix in the paste. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix well.


In the absence of the molcajete, grind half of the ingredients in a food processor. Add the paste to the bottom of a mixing bowl and repeat the above steps.

Now add the juice of one lime to the guacamole and cover with plastic wrap (touching the guacamole) to prevent air contact.

Enjoy your guacamole as a dip or as a spread or topping.

By the way – Sauvignon Blanc is an ideal wine to enjoy with guacamole.