A mortar and pestle set is an essential kitchen tool that can give you the perfect grind for just about anything – from herbs and spices to nuts and seeds.
It’s interesting that the mortar and pestle set, an ancient tool, has remained in use throughout the course of all civilization history and continues to be a popular choice both among celebrity chefs and home cooks. It’s almost like a testament to the enduring usefulness and versatility of this simple but effective tool.
Throughout history, every culture made a mortar and pestle out of the materials they had at hand. The Mexicans have their volcanic rock molcajete, the Japanese have their terracotta suribachi, and the Italians have their marble mortars with wooden pestles. And if you were an Eskimo surrounded by ice and snow, what do you think you’d make your mortar out of? Ice? Not really. You’d probably use the vertebrae of a whale.
However, among all these options, there is one that really stands out among the rest – the granite mortar and pestle known as the khrok in Thai cuisine. In this article, we will explore why a granite mortar and pestle set is the best choice for your kitchen.
What’s A Mortar and Pestle?
A mortar and pestle is a tool used for grinding and crushing ingredients, such as herbs, spices, and grains. It consists of two parts: the mortar, which is a bowl-shaped vessel made of stone, metal, or ceramic, and the pestle, which is a cylindrical or conical-shaped rod or club made of the same material as the mortar. The pestle is used to grind and crush the ingredients against the walls and bottom of the mortar.
When you consider the long history of humankind, the road to the invention of fine dining is quite a long one and full of milestones. But we all can agree that the mortar and pestle duo is the first milestone to cooking better.
The first mortar and pestles we know so far are from Southeast Asia. They were invented in the Stone Age and date back to 35,000 BC. You can imagine the benefits of suddenly being able to process food like hard grains, seeds, and other food with this tool.
Even though the mortar and pestle duo is an ancient instrument, it’s still used quite widely. This set is an indispensable tool in traditional households and stands as a symbol of refinement in kitchens worldwide.
For instance, an Indian chef knows they have to hunch over a mortar to make the perfect masala mixture, and a Japanese chef knows they should grind sesame seeds in a suribachi to get the ultimate creaminess and tastier results.
Why Use a Granite Mortar and Pestle Set?
The Most Durable Kitchenware
There are many types of mortar and pestles made of different natural rocks, such as marble, volcanic rock, or granite, which are all strong and durable materials that also provide a slightly porous surface to increase the tool's efficiency.
Among these materials, granite is the hardest, most durable one. Because a mortar and pestle set is made for crushing ingredients, this is quite an important feature. Granite is resistant to wear and tear even when cracking nuts or grinding hard spices like pepper mint or nutmeg.
Granite is a naturally occurring stone formed in the process of cooling and solidifying molten rock. It’s composed of minerals, such as quartz and feldspar, which give it a high degree of hardness and strength. This makes it resistant to scratches, chips, and cracks and able to withstand heavy use in the kitchen.
Granite is also resistant to high temperatures. It can withstand heat without getting damaged or discolored, so you can grind roasted vegetables straight out of the oven.
Due to its durability and resistance to wear and tear, a set of granite mortar and pestle is a long-lasting investment that can add value to your home and kitchen. It can last for many years with proper care and maintenance.
Rugged Just Enough
When you first get your granite mortar and pestle, you’ll notice its surface is porous and rugged. But that’s not how you should use it.
The first thing you need to do when you get a set of brand new granite — or volcanic rock — mortar and pestle is to cure and season it. Once you do that, your mortar and pestle’s surface will be much smoother, almost non-porous. There will still be some tiny bumps on the surface that will help you grind and pulverize the ingredients and absorb their flavors and aromas.
Heavy Weight of the Granite
Granite is one of the heaviest materials you can make a mortar and pestle out of. This gives the granite mortar and pestle a solid, stable base, making it easier to use. A heavy mortar and pestle is more efficient than lighter sets, as they may slip or slide when grinding and crushing.
Also, a heavy pestle is much easier to calibrate and helps you crush with ease, doing half of the job for you with its weight.
The Most Versatile Mortar and Pestle
All mortar and pestles around the world excel at a specific task. The light volcanic rock of a molcajete lets you make chunky guacamole, a suribachi grinds sesame seeds with elegance, and a marble mortar with a wooden pestle makes the best basil pesto.
You can get a pair of each of these sets if you’re blessed with huge storage and an appetite for traditional cookware, but most folks would like to get the most effective one.
A granite mortar and pestle can be used to grind and crush a wide range of ingredients, including spices, herbs, nuts, and seeds. If you try to grind hard seeds with a suribachi, you’ll erode the elegant grooves in no time, even if you are gentle with it. And volcanic rock, marble, or wood are just not as effective. They might chip, crack, or just fail to grind the ingredients as fast as a granite mortar and pestle could.
Overall, a granite mortar and pestle set is a durable, effective, and attractive choice for grinding and crushing spices and herbs. It is a versatile kitchen tool that is sure to come in handy when preparing a wide range of dishes.
How to Care for a Granite Mortar and Pestle
In order to continue reaping the benefits of a granite mortar and pestle, you must properly care for it. This means curing and seasoning it the first time you get it, cleaning the bowl and pestle after each use, and making sure it’s completely dry before putting it away.
When you’re done with your mortar and pestle, simply wash the set thoroughly with warm water, using a little bit of soap if necessary. Dry the mortar and pestle thoroughly to prevent water spots or streaks.
Avoid using sharp utensils or abrasive cleaning products on the surface of the granite, as these can scratch or damage the surface. Instead, use a sponge or a brush to clean the mortar and pestle.
If the mortar and pestle becomes stained or discolored, try using a mixture of baking soda and water to gently scrub the surface. Make sure to rinse it thoroughly and let it dry.
If your mortar and pestle becomes extremely dirty or stained, use a granite cleaner specifically formulated for natural stone surfaces. Follow the instructions on the cleaner carefully, and be sure to rinse and dry the mortar and pestle thoroughly afterward.
KROK Mortar and Pestle
Many chefs swear by the importance of having a mortar and pestle in the kitchen. If you ask us, the fact that mortar and pestles are still around is the biggest proof that the duo is one of the most effective ways to grind ingredients.
Granite sets such as our KROK mortar and pestle are known for their superior grinding ability. You can prepare just about any paste from Thai cuisine to Italian with perfect consistency, make spice blends, and even crack impossibly hard-shelled nuts. Plus the unique design of KROK gives you lots of room to grind — 3 cups specifically — and a comfortable grip without making the pestle too heavy to lift.
Furthermore, the KROK mortar and pestle set is incredibly durable and can last a lifetime if properly cared for. It’s ideal for those who want to make the most out of their cooking experience and take it to the next level.