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Have become obsessed with mortars and pestles and the reason is because as i use use them. Ive learned that there really are some huge differences from one kind the next and some of them are no good at all the mortar and pestle is an ancient kitchen tool. Its probably one of the oldest ones and its objective is pretty straightforward.
Its to smash things up this is in the days before food processors and blenders made it a lot easier. But the truth is theyre also a bit different from what a mortar and pestle does a mortar and pestle smashes your food busting. The cells open and releasing all of their aroma for some things.
The mortar and pestle even though its a bit of work is just superior. So here i have three larger. I would describe them as general purpose mortar and pestle mortars and pestles mortars and pestles.
Im never gonna feel satisfied with that i am going to make a classic ligurian pesto sauce using all three to see how that turns out. Im also going to make a thai. Red curry paste by hand and well compare the results this mortar and pestle comes straight from italy it is a marble mortar mortar as the bowl and this is an olive wood pestle and its got a really nice broad head to the pestle all right ill start with the just the garlic give it a couple solid wax not a pace yet but already very broken down in go.
Our pine nuts and im just gonna start tapping them this grinding motion is gonna help me take it the rest of the way. So now. Its time to add our basil and this is what we want this is really the goal and really notice how its creamy and its emulsified.
Its almost looks like guacamole and thats kind of where you want it so here we have a thai granite mortar and pestle this mortar and pestle is extremely heavy the pestle itself is also made of granite. So its the same material as the mortar and as you can see the head of this pestle is not as broad as the wooden one i had before you can hear already its louder then already i can see it does a pretty good job with the pine nuts. Too its smashing them very.
Well this pestle has a lot more weight behind it than the wooden. One does. But i can also feel i have a narrower tool to work with and so im having to make a lot more strikes.
It works pretty well like you can definitely feel on one of these you can make this work for pesto.
I can tell you already but its a lot more work and its more tiring on the arm. And theres some roughness to the texture of the granite that also helps but i continue to see these longer thinner wisps of basil you can definitely make pesto in a granite thai mortar and pestle its just a bit more work and a little bit less effective. So heres the third large mortar and pestle.
Im going to try to use to make pesto sauce. This style of mortar and pestle is made of ceramic and its a pretty common type here in the united states that sound is so annoying and the garlic is jumping around music shut up. I know and i cant i cant mash it to a paste.
I cant now i can add my pine nuts and im gonna stand here for a while using this narrow pestle to try to get them all like whack. A mole youre not grinding it youre just pushing it no wonder people here think it sucks to use a mortar and pestle. If this is what its like so a thai curry paste.
Usually we start out grinding dry spices. And then we move on to the wet ingredients so im just gonna get going with the thai granite mortar pestle and well see how we do thats pretty good then ive got a nice spice powder. There if i were being obsessive i could go a little farther but its its its pretty fine dried.
Thai chilies. Thats pretty well broken down theres got a ways to go. But i can feel the weight of the granite pestle and the material is pretty good for busting up this more leathery dried chili still chunky.
But its becoming a paste these ingredients that are so much more fibrous and tough that you really thats when you really want the stone on stone action like you get here do that just gonna be so hot. Its gonna be atomic lets see how this one does italian marble and wood mortar and pestle with a thai curry paste. I have high hopes that this will do spices thats pretty good ever so slightly less good compared to the thai.
One theres some more papery bits from the krannert. But its pretty good chili peppers go in it does great work with the pepper flesh. The thai granite.
One was able to break up the pepper seeds.
I think im having a harder time with that here. I know this will mash up well well mash up the garlic. No problem the shallots.
Kind of evading it its having a really hard time getting the tough little bits. Theres still a lot of chili skin. Thats in larger pieces yeah enough this is gonna suck will this grind.
This is a problem already okay fine. This is not good for grannies places red chilis this is such a drag when you have a bad mortar and pestle or at least one thats not well suited to the job you dont want to do it. Which is probably why most people dont want to use mortars and pestles because they probably have one like this who would want to use that with mortars and pestles this size youre probably doing something like grinding.
Spices or maybe trying to just smash a few cloves of garlic into a paste. Small jobs here. We have one that is made of grass this one is marmol and oh thank you little wooden one im gonna try crushing some peppercorns in each of these lets say were making steak au poivre and i want to have a nice cracked peppercorn.
So lets see how each of these work. Im going to start with the brass. Some jumping out now lets try to go find our its not working very well i can keep going.
But its its a challenge to get the pepper. Any smaller and this one than that now well try this small more marble and and what ill tell you right away that i like about it is that relative to the size of the mortar. The pestle head is nice and large and in my experience that already is a good sign for a lot of applications.
So thats good all my peppercorns are halved or quartered try to go finer a little bit jumping out this you have a more coarse texture on the marble itself. And thats helping to grind the space this wooden. One not great for this its personal.
The pestles too short relative to the height of the walls pepper is going everywhere.
And its cracking. But its less effective maybe this mortar is good for something. But not for this definitely something like this is more what you want round two with these small motor and pestles.
Im going to try to crush some garlic. So it works. What would i say its um.
Its loud. The hard corner in the bottom makes it a little bit tough to get some spots and the metal is also very slippery so things slide around a lot here on the marble the curved bowl makes it easier to get into the sides move it all around and pretty quickly make a paste. The wooden one is just hopeless.
It doesnt have the weight to do it i would have to just hit it really hard and probably end up bruising. My hand so thats no good overall for for most of your basic small mortar and pestle tasks. A nice little marble.
One like this is generally a good bet. This is probably good for something. Its not great for the stuff.
I did. But it worked and this this particular one in one is maybe its better for just gently bruising plums. Okay.
So here i have three special case mortar and pestle zac uppal of these. I just bought and havent even used yet. So im not gonna be able to show them in action.
This is the other kind of time order and pestle that you sometimes see its a terracotta mortar.
My understanding is that this is four more lightly bruising certain things like a thai green papaya salad. Where you want to just only bruised. The papaya.
This one is called a molcajete and its from mexico. Its a volcanic rock. And you might most traditionally see it in a mexican restaurant being used to make guacamole from japan.
We have a suti bocce. And whats really particular about a sweaty bocce is that it has these ridges lined into the interior. Which makes it really effective at grinding stuff up especially if you wanted to do something like a sesame seed paste.
I have some sesame seeds toasted here and you can hear it you can hear them popping. Im already getting a nice fine grind on a lot of them so im gonna take this tool. And just scrape them out okay.
I can work that a little more. But i think you get the point. I have reduced these sesame seeds to a really nice powder.
The takeaway is overall. I think these are the three most handy types to have in your kitchen. A marbled one sort of italian style with a wooden pestle.
A thai style granite one and a small marble or stone one like this for doing smaller jobs. If i only had to own one. I think maybe id make it the thai granite.
One just because its robust enough to do something like a thai curry paste. If you think youre gonna do that kind of thing. And it can still get through a pesto not as well as this one.
But it can do it so its actually i think a truly handy thing to have in your kitchen for day to day cooking test. .
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