Do you know what the secret to flavourful and authentic Mexican salsas and guacamole is? A molcajete. This kitchen tool has been an important one in the history of Mexico and its culinary culture. Made from basalt (or volcanic stone) the molcajete (or mortar) and tejolote (or pestle) will give your Mexican dishes that authentic and rustic flavour that can typically only be found in the most traditional kitchens. A molcajete truly is a must in your kitchen.
Even if you don’t normally make Mexican salsas or dishes, this heavy stone mortar and pestle can be used in preparing so many international foods. But before you get busy in the kitchen you have a little work to do in preparing the molcajete. It’s not difficult work but you will have to put some muscle work into it.
I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to cure (or season) a brand new molcajete, and you can use the tips for any stone mortar and pestle. Read the how to cure guide here.
Of course once you’ve cured it you’ll want to get started on making salsas, guacamole, and grinding spices. I am sharing a great beginning salsa recipe so you can break that molcajete in. You can get the recipe for the salsa on my About.com column here.
Did you know that you mustn’t ever use soap when cleaning a stone mortar and pestle? It will make any foods or spices prepare in it taste like soap — yuck! So, I wrote a guide all about the proper care and maintenance for a molcajete. That article can be found here.
Do you own a molcajete? If so, what is your favourite thing to prepare in it?