Molcajete is pronounced ‘mohl-kah-HEH-teh’ – is the traditional Mexican version of a mortar used to prepare salsa and guacamole, as well as to grind spices. Made from a volcanic stone called basalt, the molcajete adds authentic flavour typical of traditional cuisines in Mexico.
So what is special about a molcajete and why should I use one instead of a more convenient one? One word: flavour Yes, mixers and food processors are convenient, but that does not mean they create a superior sauce. Plants have vital flavours through essential oils trapped inside. To obtain the complete flavour, you must decompose it to release them. The crushing of a mortar and pestle makes this more effective than the thin blade of a knife or a useful kitchen utensil.
Also, chopping herbs or putting them in a food processor can bruise them. Using a molcajete does the same job with much less bruising. And, as a mortar can only move as fast as you do, it will not generate heat by friction. Those are good news for the taste; means brighter flavors
Before you start using a molcajete, there are some things you should know. First, you must cure your mortar before using it. You’re adviced not to skip this step or you will end up with small pieces of rock in your food. It is possible to find a pre-cured molcajete, so check the label when you buy. Second, never use soap when cleaning a molcajete. The volcanic rock used to make a molcajete is very porous and will trap not only the aroma of the soap but also the flavor.
Are you ready to make salsa and guacamole? I am! Let’s take a look at some authentic recipes.
Traditionally prepared, the recipes listed below specifically require you to use a molcajete. If you do not have one, go and use a food processor, a blender or a knife and a cutting board until you can buy your molcafrido.
Molcajeteada sauce of Mexican Made Meatless
Recipes to try:
- roasted tomato sauce
- Taqueria Sauce
- Tomatillo and Serrano sauce
- Roasted habanero sauce
It may be true that homemade guacamole can be made with a fork and a bowl, but grinding the ingredients in a molcajete could give you tastier guacamole. Crushing the ingredients helps to release the oils and will allow the flavors to get married more easily.
Recipes to try:
- Perfect recipe for Guacamole
- Molcajete Guacamole sauce
- Spinach Guacamole
- Easy Molcajete Guacamole
- Authentic Mexican guacamole
Have you ever made salsa using a molcajete? Let’s go salsa and guacamole together! Share your recipe or favourite story in the comments below.