My new “friend” has finally arrived, a prehistoric and one of the oldest culinary tool, mortar and pestle. :)
Just the other day, I was looking around Ikea’s kitchen section (image right from Ikea), when I spotted a tool I always wanted to have in my kitchen, a mortar and pestle, a tool for bashing and grinding.
Sure, I could have waited with the purchase, and do some research before buying, but, hey, how excited I was when I saw it, I simply had to buy this awesome tool, then and there. The one I bought (image right), is made of hard marble, it is black, and both sides can be used to crush fresh herbs and spices.
So, what so special about the mortar and pestle tool, you might ask. Let see…
They can deliver flavor essences like any other modern techno grinder. I mean, just imagine, all those smells from freshly ground lemongrass, peels, ginger, freshly ground rosemary or basil, and all those colors with full-bodied flavors and oils turning into delicious scent. You got my point.
Here’s just a bit about knowledge about this ancient tool. The word “mortar” derives from the Latin word mortarium, meaning “receptacle for pounding.” The word “pestle,” derives from the Latin word pestillum, meaning “pounding.” Symbolically, this tool is both, the masculine and feminine, representing the life force, fertility and abundance.
Biblical times – The Old Testament mentions the mortar and pestle: The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar.
In Indian history, the common use of the mortar and pestle was to pound rice to separate the rice grain from its husk and to make flour for pancakes known as chapattis.
Traditionally, mortar and pestle are made from smooth nonbrittle materials. They also must hard enough to withstand tear and nonporous. Materials include stone, porcelain, marble, ceramic, wood, bamboo, bronze, steel, bronze, and so on. As mentioned, I got mine from Ikea, and it’s made of hard black marble. But if you like more options, check the Amazon.com, the price, size, shape, material.
Using mortar and pestle for the first time
Many suggest before you use your new mortar and pestle the first time, first:
- Wash it in clean water
- Grind a small handful of white rice
- Add garlic, mash and muddle all together.
- Discard the mixture, and voilà, now you are ready to use your brand new mortar and pestle.
If you are ready to get busy grinding and pounding, in the below video Jamie Oliver explains how to use the mortar and pestle. I’ve tried all three recipes in the video, and they are just yummy.
Mortar and Pestle (quick) Pesto Recipe (recipe by blog house)
- 3 cloves of garlic – peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cups of fresh basil – leaves only
- 3 tablespoons of pine nuts
- A dash of salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Add basil, garlic, salt and pine nuts to your mortar and pestle. Grind them into a paste. Add your parmesan to the mix and pound it in until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the oil until you achieve your desired consistency.
For more inspiring recipes, check this book, table of contents here: Alchemy of the Mortar &