POSTED IN: Kitchen Tools , The Basics
TAGS: Kitchen Tools , Molcajete , Mortar , Pestle , The Basics
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The molcajete is a cooking tool that although not absolutely necessary this day in age, it does have its uses, benefits and looks. Mexico's version of the mortar and pestle (the pestle being called tejolote) it has been used for thousands of years to pound, smash, grind and mix ingredients such as herbs, spices and chiles, create rubs, pastes and sauces.
It it is traditionally made of basalt volcanic rock, which is very porous and rough and it makes it very heavy. There are however, newer versions of lighter material, that I am not so fond off. When new, there are many takes of how to "cure" them, so they can begin to be used. Some people grind white rice, while others grind peeled garlic cloves. I like to do both. So just take either one or the other, or both, and grind them with the pestle. Then just wash with a soapy sponge and rinse under cold water (continue for more information and photos).
They are sometimes carved in the shape of an animal, mos typically pigs, which can look friendly or quite scary.
A wonderful thing about molcajetes, is that since they are so porous they have a remarkable memory. They store within them, the essences, oils, smells and flavors of all that has been served or made in them. Maybe that's why it is said that molcajetes season with time and use. Maybe that's also why it is said that making a sauce or rub or paste in a molcajete makes it taste better....
Wonderful! I just received one for a wedding gift and now i know how to use it..thank you!
LisaLisa | September 18, 2009 6:24 PM
I Love your page and love your guacamole recipe; I also lived in Oaxaca Mexico for some time and learned how to make some salsas, but nothing compare to yours; I also learned that a molcajete must never be wash with SOAP, since it will leave residue and actually change the taste of your future recipes. Here is a suggestion
How to clean a molcajete:
Rinse all of the food and spice particles out of the molcajete. To do this, simply run tap water over the surface of both the bowl and the pestle. Your goal here is to remove excess food particles that rinse off easily.
Plug up the kitchen sink, and place the molcajete in the sink. If your sink is easily scratched, place a dish towel on the bottom of the tub, to prevent the rough stone of the molcajete from scratching the sink's surface. Fill the sink with hot water. Allow the molcajete to sit in the hot water for approximately five minutes, to soften up any particles that are trapped in the craters
Use the stiff-bristled brush to scrub the molcajete bowl and pestle. This will remove the stuck-on food, as well as any residue that might be left on the molcajete.
Drain the sink and rinse the molcajete in warm water.
Gently scrub the lemon on the surface of the bowl and pestle of the molcajete. Lemons have natural odor-absorbing properties, and this will help absorb the scent of any Mexican spices that were ground up in the molcajete. The lemon juice can be allowed to dry on the molcajete before putting it away.
| June 16, 2012 6:15 PM
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