Monday, May 26, 2014

My Kitchen Best Friends: Mortar and Pestle

My mother gave me my first set of stone mortar and pestle when I worked in Europe. They were a real McCoy from the sea-side village in Chonburi – south-east of Bangkok – where the artisan mortar and pestles are made. This village is called Ang-Hin which means stone bowl – very aptly named, I think.

When I moved country, I gave them away to my good friend (they were one of the most sought after items amongst the Thai expats then). Mum gave me another one before I moved to New Zealand. This set was bought new so I had a chance to witness the process of
seasoning the "Krok" – that is mortar in Thai.

Shredded coconut was pounded repeatedly so that the natural coconut oil coated the surface of both mortar and pestle. I think she asked our home helper (who was young and strong) to perform this task that day.

When this process was done, the stone surface was coated with thin film of coconut oil. This would    act as natural non-stick coating that prevents whatever contents you pound from sticking to the Krok.

I use them to pound and bruise all sorts of food ingredients– even my Som-Tam or Pok Pok. With stone kitchen bench, I have to be very careful when using my Krok. I place the Krok over thick layers of tea towels (soft and thick cork trivet will also do nicely) and remember not to drop the pestle on the stone bench or tiled floor, ever! The pestle will win – don’t even think about the mortar!

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