Similar to its Mexican counterpart, so-called Gazan salad is a creamy-spicy guacamole-like dip that blends avocado with hits of chili, citrus and garlic. It also adds a new dimension—texture.
In Mexican guacamole, the texture comes almost entirely from chopped onion, the other ingredients mostly dissolving into the mashed avocados. But in the Gazan version—a dish created after settlers brought avocados to the region about 100 years ago—texture and body are core to the recipe.
We were introduced to this variation by Yasmin Khan, who included a recipe for Gazan smashed avocados in her Palestinian cookbook, “Zaitoun.” She starts by mashing avocados with a fork, leaving rough chunks for texture, and mixes them with Greek yogurt and olive oil for richness and body.
Seasonings are simple—a green chili, a garlic clove, a bit of lemon juice and a dusting of citrusy sumac. A sprinkle of sesame seeds adds satisfying, yet still subtle crunch to every bite.
At Milk Street, we loved the bold flavors of Khan’s salad but made several substitutions, starting with hard-to-find sumac. We mimicked its color and flavor with sweet paprika, cumin and coriander, as well as a bit more lemon juice.
We also upped the garlic for more pungency and substituted creamier whole-milk yogurt for Greek, which we found too tangy with all the lemon juice added to the avocado. Finally, we borrowed a trick from another creamy dip frequently sprinkled with toppings—hummus. We used a spoon to make a well in the center of the dip, into which we dolloped more yogurt and drizzled a bit of olive oil. We finished it all with a sprinkle of paprika, cumin and sesame seeds.