RECIPE: Why stabbing your own hand while trying to cut avocado is toxic behaviour (bog-standard Mexican guacamole) [v]

I keep hearing that the surge in avocado popularity in the “global West” has led to an increase in people stabbing themselves while trying to destone them. I live in Mexico and as you probably know Mexico is the ancestral home of the avocado (or ahuacatl for all you Nahuatl speakers); if preparing them was as hazardous as the avocado toast normies like to make out then surely in Mexico such injuries would be commonplace (I’m not dissing avocado toast, it’s lovely, and thank you Instagrammers for discovering such an amazing ingredient). Do jaded old avocado veterans sit around in plazas under their sombreros comparing the scars etched like rivulets across their palms? Unsurprisingly not.

Making guacamole is about as perilous as making a sandwich, so either people are so keen to selfie themselves eating a #superfood that they cut their avos cackhandedly in their frenzy, or they are trying to cut into them way before they’re ripe or, *newsreader changes to serious tone* they are in fact self-harming and trying to blame the avocados which is, quite frankly, toxic behaviour.

This is how Mexicans do guacamole:

Makes one large bowl
Avocados 4
Tomatoes 2 medium
Onion 1 small
Coriander 1 bunch (up to you how much you use)
Limes 1 or 2 (depending on juiciness)
Serrano, Jalapeño or Habanero chilli (optional)

Use ripe avocados. They shouldn’t have the firmness of an apple or a courgette, they should have a bit of give but not be squidgy because that means they’ll have black bits inside. Imagine a condom filled with chilled butter. See how lovely and soft it is while still being firm?

Now because the avocado is ripe the next part will be easy and you won’t end up in a tourniquet. Cut all the way around the avocado from the point where the stem was, back to where you started. Cut all the way through to the stone, rotating the avocado rather than the knife. You don’t need to use any strength for this, the only hard part is making sure the end of your incision meets up with the start.

Once the avocado is cut you need to separate the two hemispheres. Hold a half in each hand and twist gently. The two halves will come apart with the stone on one side (they say if the stone ends up in the right half your kids will grow up to be massive Tories).

With a single precise chopping action embed the blade of the knife into the stone without being a dick and hacking your hand off. I don’t mean stab it with the point, carefully chop into the stone with the blade edge, and it only needs to go a few millimetres deep you’re not trying to fell a tree. A backswing of more than 10cm constitutes being a dick.

Once your knife blade is embedded into the avocado stone, twist gently to remove the stone, then carefully, with your thumb (or a wooden spoon), push the stone off the blade away from you and straight into the compost bin.

Now use a tablespoon to scoop the avocado flesh out of the shell and into a bowl. Remember the darkest, ripest and tastiest part is right next to the skin so scrape all of that into your bowl.

Now add salt and lime juice and mash. It should be salty and tangy enough to still be lipsmacking after adding tomato and onion. Use your own nous for this. Try it, add more, try it again. Remember it’s easier to add a bit more salt and lime than to take it out after adding too much. This is actually the most basic guacamole, for the purists if you will. But usually a bit of veg is added.

So now finely chop and gently stir in tomato, onion and coriander. It’s about one medium tomato and half a small onion to every two avocados. Coriander to taste. Don’t stir too vigorously, the time for elbow grease was step 7. The tomato chunks are delicate and shouldn’t end up all mushed up.

Add chopped green chilli if you like, it depends if you’re after a fierce guac for dipping or a cooling one to temper a spicy dish.

Some people add black pepper, olive oil, a dash of fish sauce, even milk; which might be tasty but isn’t Mexican.

Serve with tostadas (tortilla chips) or with meat tacos. If you can get hold of green tomatillos, add a handful of raw ones and some extra green chilli and a glug of water to the ingredients above and blitz the whole thing in a blender for a salsa de guacamole.