East Meets West: Asian Inspired Guacamole For The Fourth of July
For the first time ever, in my 29 years of life, I won't be celebrating the Fourth of July in Florida. I won't be sweating my fanny off, won't be worried about a possible thunderstorm ruining my beach day, and won't be stressed about where to watch fireworks. Living in California has solved all of those minor issues.
But I'm sure as heck gonna miss being with my family. Growing up, the fourth was almost always spent at St. Petersburg beach with my mom, brother, and close relatives. We'd rent a condo for the week where we'd lounge around catching up, wade in the warm gulf water for hours on end, and cook up a storm every night. Those beach weeks made for memories that I'll always cherish. It was a simpler time in my life and is probably why I love this summer holiday so flippin much.
I've gotta be honest with you. While I always begged my mom to make that standard American flag cake as a child, it's the last thing I'd crave this holiday weekend. In fact, I'm kinda over patriotic recipes. There's only so many red, white, and blue cuisine combos one can create.
***Update: I thought of one that's sure to be insanely delicious and isn't anywhere on Pinterest. But it's a little too late. Next year, friends. It's a good one.
Since America is a melting pot, and since this is my first Fourth of July in California, I thought it only appropriate that I make guacamole for the holiday weekend. But I wasn't gonna make just any ole guacamole. With strong influences from both Mexican and Asian cultures, California's culinary scene is rich with fusion fare.
So I whipped up an Asian-inspired guacamole. And while I've always tooted my own horn with my traditional guacamole recipe, this one is in a league of its own. It has a refreshing crunch from the crisp jicama, a spicy bite from the fresh ginger, and an extra special zing from the fresh lemongrass. Soy sauce replaces salt, red bell pepper fills in for the tomato, and cilantro still holds its own in this twist on the Mexican "dip."
Believe me when I say, it's a twist your friends and family are gonna absolute love. You'll probably hear some "oohs and ahhs," it's so good.
East Meets West: Asian Inspired Guacamole
2-3 ripe California avocados (depending on size)
1/4 cup jicama, finely chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup mix of red onion and scallion, finely chopped
Juice from one lime
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons fresh lemongrass, peeled and minced (feel free to use the lemongrass paste found in the produce section)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sriracha or sambal (red chili paste)
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, divided
1) Combine all of the ingredients except for the avocados in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
2) Cut open the avocados, remove seeds, and with a large spoon, scoop out all of avocado into the bowl.
3) Break the avocado into smaller chunks with a spoon, combining it with the other ingredients. Continue breaking it up and "mashing" it with a spoon until it's reached your desired consistency. I like a chunky guacamole so I don't mash it down too much.
4) Spoon the guacamole into a serving bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds and a pinch of scallions. Top off with Sririacha if you'd like. Serve with tortilla chips or wontons.
***If you want to make your own wontons like I did, simply buy wonton wrappers from the store and fry in coconut oil. I used a medium non-stick pan and 1 tablespoon coconut oil. I fried 3-4 wrappers at a time and let dry and cool on a paper towel.