when baking, follow directions.. when cooking, go by your own taste.. ~ Laiko Bahrs
in Asian countries, the mortar and pestle is a pair of very important tools in the kitchen..it’s usually made/carved out of a single block of natural stone..
there are also those made of porcelain, marble, granite, brass, metal and solid wood..
in Thailand, a Lao-style clay mortar with a really deep bowl and a long pestle made of wood is common..
in Mexico, the Hispanic society uses another version called the molcajete, which is used to prepare guacamole and pesto..
the mortar is usually round in shape but there are also pieces which are square, but with round inner bowls..these are normally sold as ‘designer’ pieces in some shops specializing in kitchen tools and utensils, and are always more expensive than the normal round ones because of their unusual square shape..
my mom owns a traditional style mortar stone and pestle, passed down to her from my late grandmother..the mortar stone is a flat stone bed, and comes with a really big pestle to use with..
the mortar is a bowl where food is placed in it and the pestle is used to grind and pound or pulverize the food into fine powder or wet paste..it’s best to use mortar and pestle made of natural stone as it’s more hardy and can stand heavy and excessive pounding..the wooden version is okay for mixing pastes and sauces but is not advisable to be used for heavy duty food pulverizing as it might crack easily, plus it’s highly absorbent and needs to be treated with food-safe mineral oil occasionally..the porcelain version is suitable for grinding spice mixes into powder and is often used to grind medicine too..however, it stains easily and is also not for heavy duty usage..
before putting the newly purchased mortar and pestle to use, you’ll first need to smooth out the gritty and abrasive surfaces and season it..i recently bought a new medium-sized set to replace my old small-sized one..i got tired of having to pound and grind kerisik in several batches at a time so i purchased a new set made of granite from Jusco..along with a few pieces of sandpaper..
yes, you heard that right..i used sandpaper to smooth out the rough and gritty outer wall of the granite mortar bowl and pestle..you don’t have to go through the sanding process if your mortar and pestle are already smooth and not abrasive when you touch it..but for those that are made of granite especially, this step is advisable as you don’t want to end up injuring yourself by scraping your skin against the rough surface while handling the mortar and pestle..to clean the inner bowl, i used uncooked rice grains..the result? really smooth to the touch and non-abrasive surface..lastly to season the mortar bowl, i ground some wet and dry spices in it.. i’m really pleased with the ready-to-use mortar and pestle now..
How to Prep Your New Mortar & Pestle Before First Use