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Using a Mortar and Pestle

Mortar and Pestle

Using a Mortar and Pestle

Using a Mortar and Pestle Though we have modern day conveniences, such as food processors and blenders, there is nothing quite like using traditional tools. Out of all the mortar and pestles in existence, the Indonesian stone version is my absolute favorite. While using this tool does require a little physical exertion, the unique textures and flavors that result are well worth the effort. Make sure that the surface of the mortar is dry before placing the ingredients on it. When working with garlic or fresh chili peppers, a helpful trick is to sprinkle a little salt and/or sugar on top before mashing. The salt and sugar act as an abrasive helping to break everything down. Never pound the pestle in an up and down motion like you would with a meat pounder because of splattering. The Indonesian pestle has a curved structure, designed for angled and long strokes. Be firm with each stroke of the pestle against the mortar, almost as if you’re dragging the ingredients along while firmly pushing down. You should also use a spoon to scrape the ingredients into the middle every so often so that you don’t end up with a mess around the perimeter of the mortar. When finished, simply rinse the mortar and pestle under warm water and allow to air dry.