The Benefits Of Using A Mortar & Pestle

| 2 Likes

A mortar and pestle is one of the simplest tools in any culinary arsenal, it’s just better at what it does than anything else. Whether you're getting hardcore about making a curry paste or simply mushing up some herbs to spread over a roast chicken, a mortar and pestle just improves the quality of your meal. It does the work better than your sharpest knife, fastest blender, or heavy-duty food processor. Here’s why we think you need this old-school tool.

The Benefits Of Using A Mortar & Pestle

Taste

The main reason to get a mortar and pestle is simple - flavour. The bashing and squashing motions are more effective at releasing flavours and aromas of whatever you’re grinding up. The sciencey reason is simple: A mortar and pestle crushes plants while blades cut them. If you want to expel all the essential oils of a hunk of garlic or leaf of basil, crushing is the way to go. Plants are made of rigid structures that trap vital flavour inside. You need to rupture them to release that flavour, and smashing does so far more effectively than the thin blade of a knife. Ingredients that benefit from being squashed to release their perfume range from herbs, garlic, ginger, nuts, citrus peel, lemongrass and spices. The result: punchier pesto, curry pastes and spice blends that really sing. Most of your fancy electronic gadgets merely chop, tear and slice food, leaving you with a different flavour and chunkier texture.  

Control

Have you tried to grind a few teaspoons of spices in your mini food processor or electric spice grinder? Ever hit the pulse button one too many times on your stick blender or ninja? Getting the perfect texture using this equipment can be really tricky! When you’re going hands-on, you can easily mash up small quantities and grind mixtures with more precision. Using a mortar and pestle gives you the perfect consistency for your recipe.

They Save You Money

Sure, you have to buy a mortar and pestle. However, a medium/heavy version costs only around $30-$50 and will last for years and years. That one-time investment will quickly pay for itself because whole spices are cheaper than ground ones and they stay fresher for longer too. Cooking from home is also less expensive than eating out or ordering takeaway. Imagine being able to make a Malaysian or Thai curry large enough to feed the whole family with leftovers for the next day. You would pay around the same amount for a single portion from your local food delivery service.

Poor On Time?

You can always start by blending ingredients in the food processor and finish them off in your mortar and pestle (or vise versa). This may save time when making larger recipes, but still gets the benefit of releasing maximum flavour in your ingredients. Beware of fibrous and woody items like galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime. You should always chop these as finely as possible before attempting to pulse in a blender. We have seen the damage they can cause to the blades of home kitchen appliances.

Learning