Best Type of Mortar and Pestle
How To Choose The Best Mortar And Pestle For You
Mortar and pestles come in a number of different types. The most common materials are stone, marble and wood. Also size is important! There are advantages and disadvantages to each type. I've used wood and marble but I prefer stone or granite. Granite is rough and this enables you to grip spices and grind them more effectively.
I also think it's worth paying a few extra dollars to buy a very large (within reason) mortar and pestle. I find that eight inch diameter is ideal. I recommend the following granite example. There are three options available, six inch, seven inch and eight inch diameter. Some initial preparation is necessary but this is a one-off quick task, a small price to pay for a life-time of use (see below). Check the video below to get the most from this type of mortar and pestle.
My Favorite - As endorsed by David Rosengarten (ABC and Food TV chef)
This is very substantial and durable. Both the mortar and pestle are made in one piece so there's nothing to break. It's hand carved from a solid, extremely hard (Mohs scale 7+), granite rock. It will last a lifetime or more! It's also very attractive, I think most people would keep it on their kitchen counter on display as a "conversation" piece. It's very heavy (about 15 pounds) and therefore extremely stable when in use. Please note this link is to the 7 inch version (it's the only one that seems to show a picture) on the same page there is a link to the 8 inch 3 cup version.
Is Granite Best?
Do you agree that granite mortar and pestles are best?
It's All In The Preparation.
Some people complain that granite mortar and pestles leave granite grit in their food. This is easily solved. When you first get your mortar and pestle just grind some uncooked rice and repeat until the rice stays white and free of grit. This sounds like a pain but when you consider you only have to do it once and it will last a lifetime, it's more than worth it.
How to use it -
(it's not as obvious as it seems!)
The temptation is to take out all your aggression and really bash those peppercorns, herbs, spices etc. This will just scatter the little blighters all over your kitchen!. You only need to very gently bash, perhaps from a height of only an inch or two. Remember your mortar and pestle is very hard and heavy, so a little elbow grease goes a long way! Once you've gently bashed your victims then you can grind using a circular motion. The upcoming video shows the exact action required.