Expat Cravings: Guacamole

Posted on May 31, 2011


I’m happy to announce that red onions are now available once again in Istanbul. About a month ago, I got a hankerin’ for guacamole, so I went looking for red onions. (In my guacamole, I must have red onions.) Now, red onions are normally evasive, but this time I could not find them anywhere. I looked in all the grocery stores and fruit and vegetable stands (manav). Finally, a greengrocer on Bağdat, told me that I wasn’t going to find them. So I have been waiting for them to appear ever since. So, while I was grocery-shopping today, I was inspecting the haggard moldy remains of five white onions (also rare in Istanbul). Suddenly, I spotted hanging bags of RED ONIONS.

The greengrocer noticed my excitement and said yeni geldi (they have just come). Together, we scurried around collecting the ingredients I would need. He was puzzled by the medley. I told him it was a Mexican ‘sauce’ which included red onions, tomatoes, avocado and lime. He had never heard of it and seemed skeptical.

They have all the ingredients but they just don’t know what to do with them.  Fajitas have started becoming popular here in Istanbul.  On the side, they give you salsa (tomato mashed with parsley), sour cream (yogurt), and avocado sauce (nasty, inappropriate use of avocados).

I learned this recipe for guacamole while I was working at Silvertron in Birmingham, Alabama.  It’s the best guac I’ve ever had anywhere and it goes like this…

Ingrediants:  Avocados, tomatoes, red onions, limes, salt.

This is not a science; it’s an art.  Proportions of each product are to your liking.  What I normally do is use 2 avocados.  1 diced red onion.  2 diced tomatoes because you are only going to use the meat, not the seeds or any of the juice.  Take that all out.  Juice of 2 limes and a generous amount of salt.  Mix it all the ingrediants together and make sure to put it in the fridge for an hour or two to let the flavors meld.

In İstanbul, we don’t have tortilla chips.  Tortillas–yes.  Tortilla chips–no!  So we must use Doritos which is the only compromise to this recipe.  Otherwise, enjoy the tastes of our homeland.