Mortars and pestles
A mortar and pestle extracts full-bodied flavour from spices and other ingredients to make textured pastes, dips and more. Shop stone grinders made from marble and granite from Kitchen Warehouse with free delivery over $100 Australia-wide.
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Mortar and pestle: the original food processor
The mortar and pestle combines crushing, grinding and pounding techniques with a bit of good old fashioned elbow grease to break down ingredients, releasing deep aromas and creating complex textures in food. Many people may not know that the mortar and pestle is actually one of the oldest kitchen utensils, dating back to the Stone Age where it was used to crush and grind tough foods, as well as clay and medicines. With such a rich, historical design that still stands today, it’s clear that the mortar (bowl) and pestle (utensil) holds significant advantages alongside more high-tech food processors that we also benefit greatly from. A pestle and mortar has a variety of uses that can transform ingredients and take dishes to the next level:
Releases more flavour in food for a stronger, brighter taste
Assists in achieving the right texture in food
Cost effective alternative to large blenders and processors
Cuts down on the time it takes to prepare ingredients for cooking
Add a handcrafted touch to a recipe
Whether you're crushing dried spices for a crumb mixture or hand blending olive oil, basil leaves and garlic to make pesto, a mortar and pestle can often get the job done faster and more effectively than an electronic device. This is because it crushes the ingredients, rather than cutting them, which fully releases the oils and flavours locked inside. Because of the deep concave of the mortar, it works without bruising the ingredients to result in a brighter, more intense flavour.
Master the techniques
As it's a handheld tool, you have significant control over the texture of your food when you use a mortar and pestle. A few techniques to master include:
Grinding. Use a circular motion to grind spices around the base of the mortar to create your own seasoning blends and curry powders.
Pounding. A great technique for breaking down aromatics like garlic, ginger and lemongrass into a paste.
Crushing. Crush seeds, spices, herbs, chillies, capers, nuts and more for sauces, dips, dukkah and crumb mixtures.
Utilise a mortar and pestle in your kitchen
A mortar and pestle is an incredibly versatile tool that can create sauces or crumbs to compliment a meal, or to construct stand alone condiments like dips and nut butters. Here are a few ideas of what you can make using a mortar and pestle to spark your cooking creativity and inspire you to give one a go!
Pesto and other dips
Herbal tea blends
Different sizes for different creations
At Kitchen Warehouse, you can find mini mortar and pestles that are ideal for making small batches of delicate spice blends and large mortar and pestles for making sauces, dips, curry pastes and more. Discover a wide range of shapes and sizes, starting from smaller 9cm mortar and pestles to large 20cm models.
Choose from a selection of materials
Mortar and pestles are made with many different durable materials designed to withstand the knocks and bumps associated with using them. Some of the most common materials used are:
Marble: Stone mortar and pestles are hugely popular thanks to their strength, durability and unique natural patterns. Marble structures are smooth, light and ideal for crushing spices and pounding garlic.
Granite: Granite is another popular stone for making mortar and pestles. Its slightly rough texture makes them great for grinding spices and crushing tougher ingredients, such as lemongrass and dried chillies.
Cast iron: Cast iron is exceptionally strong and perfect for making spice blends and powders.
Wood: Wooden mortar and pestles have a natural, rustic beauty. They can be absorbent and have a tendency to retain aromas and flavours, so it's best to use them for one dedicated task.
Learning to use a mortar and pestle is easy
The best thing about a mortar and pestle is that it's one of the easiest tools to use in the kitchen! With its simple design and application, anyone can quickly benefit from its features. Practise grinding, crushing and pounding different ingredients and enjoy the aromatic flavour it brings to your cooking.
Cleaning, maintenance and storage
Rinse the mortar and pestle with warm water by hand after each use to prevent staining. Avoid using soap as porous materials can absorb the scent. You can also follow the care instructions on your specific product. A mortar and pestle makes a stylish addition to your kitchen countertop when not in use.
What is a mortar and pestle?
A mortar and pestle is a kitchen tool used to crush, grind, and pulverise ingredients manually by hand. The mortar is a bowl, typically made of stone, ceramic, or metal. The pestle is a heavy club-shaped tool, usually made of the same material as the mortar.
What are the benefits of using a mortar and pestle?
If you're someone who likes to impart as much flavour as possible into your meals, the mortar and pestle is a must-have kitchen tool. Use it to crush, pound and grind ingredients to release full-bodied flavour and oils without bruising and damaging them for a stronger, brighter taste in sauces, dips, pastes and more. Mortar and pestles allow you to control the texture of your food, as well as save you money on food processors, and help to reduce the time needed to prepare ingredients for cooking.
How to use a mortar and pestle?
There are three general techniques you can use with a mortar and pestle. To grind ingredients, place them into the mortar and slowly and firmly twist the pestle on top of them until they are ground down to your desired texture. To crush spices or garlic, place them into the mortar and roll the pestle against them to split them open and break them down. You can also add oil to the mortar and other wet ingredients if you want to make a paste or dip. To pound seeds and larger ingredients, start by grinding them in the mortar. Then, use the pestle to gently smash them down further. You can cup your other hand over the mortar to prevent ingredients from bouncing out.