In this age of induction ranges and sous vide cooking apparatuses, there remains a kitchen tool whose simplicity belies its utility. Meet the mortar and pestle.
This bowl and elongated stick that’s rounded at the end — the mortar and the pestle, respectively — have been around since man had to make his own fire before making a meal. Yet thousands of years later, cooks the world over still use this simple duo.
These culinary tools are made from a variety of materials, from stainless steel to glass and porcelain to the volcanic rock popular in Mexican versions that are called molcajete. Mortars and pestles can be found under $15, and are available at discount stores and of course kitchen stores and online shops. During a recent trip to Cost Plus, I was impressed with the variety of these tools that they offered.
So what, exactly, is a mortar and pestle used for? So glad you asked.