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Sep 22, 2006 03:40 PM

Looking to buy a small Mexican mortar and pestle

The ridges on my current mortar have worn down, and I've never been happy with the marble pestle that accompanies it, which is too slippery. It's been suggested that I get a Mexican mortar, which has more indentations and is easier to use. The cooking equipment supply store in the Chelsea market sells one, but it's way too large. An employee their told me I could purchase a smaller one at stores in Queens, but I'd prefer not to have to make the trip. Does anyone know of a Manhattan food equipment supply store that sells small Mexican mortars? It doesn't have to be a Mexican one, I'd just like a mortar and pestle that are not overly smooth and slippery--one that catches the ingredients being pounded in its ridges.


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  1. What you're looking for is a Molcajete, which is made of volcanic rock. When you find one, put some water in it to make sure it dosn't leak too much. It needs to be finished by grinding raw rice to fill in some of the depressions (be prepared for some sore arms).

    I bought one several years ago in a market in Mexico for $10, best thing I ever bought. I use it to make a paste with salt, garlic and hot peppers and use that as a base for salsa and guacamole.

    1. Hmmm, is it worth the trouble? The rice remains imbedded in the depressions?

      1. I guess it does, it's harmless. Totally worth it. The irregular edges on the pestle and the moljahete itself create a great surface to break up whatever you put in it. You only have to do the rice thing once.

        2 Replies
        1. re: saeyedoc

          I was also told to do the rice thing, but the purpose as described to me was to get rid of any residue from the volcanic rock. I bought mine at Bridge Kitchenware - my favorite - in midtown east - they have a website -, but they carry a lot more things, I think, than you can see on the website and it's not terribly user friendly - so I'd just call and ask.

          1. re: MMRuth

            I think you may be right, I saw on another website to grind until the rice powder is white, not gray which makes sense if you're trying to get rid of the residue.

        2. I found volcanic rock pestles on Mulberry Street sounth of Canal on the east side of the street in one of the shops.

          1. kitchen market in chelsea might have one. if not, they'll at least stock every ingredient you'll need once you find one.