Turn your shopping cart away from the premade dip aisle, forget about those dry spice packets marked “guacamole seasoning” and head to the produce section. Pick up some avocados, cilantro, a white onion, a lime, a tomato and a jalapeño pepper.

You now possess the tools needed to make amazing guacamole all on your own.

You will need a little salt too, and if you really want to qualify as a guacamole expert, you may want to invest in a molcajete, which is essentially a Mexican mortar. But, honestly, you don’t need this or even a regular mortar; you really just need a bowl.

For years, I never bothered to make guacamole. Whenever I tried, it never tasted as good as it does in restaurants and after a while, I just gave up.

Then I met chef Roberto Santibanez, a Mexican cooking expert. Watching him make guacamole was a revelation, and I have been following his technique ever since. It really is as simple as mashing cilantro, salt and minced onion and jalapeño into a paste, and then stirring in cubes of avocado, more chopped onion, cilantro and diced tomato. Stir in a little lime juice and you will have perfection on your hands.


For the chile paste:

1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion

1 tablespoon firmly packed, chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeño, or more to taste (see note)

1 teaspoon salt, or more as needed

For the dip:

3 medium ripe but firm Hass avoca- dos

3 tablespoon diced tomato

2 tablespoon firmly packed, chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion

Splash of freshly squeezed lime juice

Salt, if needed

Grind the onion, cilantro, jalapeño and salt together in a molcajete until all of the ingredients are very finely ground. Alternately, use a pestle, wooden tamper or fork to mash all of the ingredients into a paste in a wide hardwood bowl.

Cut each avocado in half, working the knife blade around the pit. Twist the halves to separate them and flick out the pit with the tip of the knife. Rest an avocado half cut side up in the palm of your hand and make 3 or 4 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts through the avocado flesh, down to the skin without cutting through it. Make 4 crosswise cuts in the same way. Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the bowl with paste. Repeat with the remaining avocado halves.

Gently fold the avocado into the paste, keeping the avocado in as large pieces as possible. Add the remaining tomato, cilantro, onion and lime juice, folding in gently. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: Jalapeño peppers can vary widely in hotness. Use more or less to taste. Remove seeds and trim away white pith before dicing jalapeño for less heat, or leave jalapeño out completely for mild dip.

– Adapted from “Rosa’s New Mexican Table,” Roberto Santibanez

Spicy Sesame Guacamole

3 Hass avocados

∑ cup chopped red onion

¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce

1½ teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1½ teaspoons black sesame seeds

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (optional)

Sesame rice crackers, for serving

Cut each avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pits from the avocados and discard. Remove the avocados from the skin and place the avocado flesh in a bowl.

Add the red onion, scallions, lime juice, chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, ginger, 1 teaspoon of the sesame seeds, and the sesame oil. Mash with a fork until half smooth and half chunky. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon of sesame seeds.

Serve immediately with sesame rice crackers.

Makes 4 servings.

– “Absolutely Avocados,” Gaby Dalkin