The Best Way to Cure a Molcajete
This was an impulse purchase. I went in to a local Mexican grocery to get some dried chiles and walked out with a molcajete and tejolote. I was feeling adventurous, and it looked like a good buy for $15. I've done a Google search to find out what I need to do with it to get it in usable condition, but there seems to be lots of conflicting info out there. One site says soak it in water for a few hours, dry it, and grind white rice into the surface until the powder comes out white. Another says to make a paste with lots of garlic and salt, spread it over the surface and grind it in with the tejolote, let it stand overnight and rinse it out the next day. Yet another recommendation says to "create a paste using onion, garlic, and cooking oil as the base. Spread the paste on the inner part of the molcajete. Place it inside the oven and bake it for 30 minutes at 300 degrees so that the paste thoroughly permeates the stone. Once the molcajete has cooled off, wash it thoroughly with soap and water."
Are these methods equally effective, or is there one method that's better than the rest? I'll save the rest of my molcajete questions for after I've cured it.
The molcajete doesn't need very much curing. I've used the garlic and salt cure you have read about and works fine. The salt is a mild abbrasive and the garlic will help to take the debris out. The surface of the molcajete is suposed to be coarse.
Enjoy your molcajete, salsas and guacamole have a hole diferent texture and taste better when made the traditional way. Also the molcajete is great for other uses like grounding spices or making pesto.
Rick Bayless uses the rice method. If he recomends it I'd say go for it.
The idea is to knock off all the high spots which would otherwise be ground into the food.