Kitchen Gear: Suribachi (Japanese Mortar & Pestle)

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Check out this suribachi (“grinding bowl”). It’s a Japanese-style mortar and pestle. Over the last year I have become a big fan of this piece of cooking equipment because the design is perfect for making pastes and pestos. Essentially it’s a ceramic bowl with an unglazed, textured inside. With a wooden pestle, you grind foods against the ridges inside the bowl. It’s similar to other tools you may know (a Mexican Molcajete, an Italian mortar and pestle made from marble, or a Indonesian style mortar and pestle made from basalt/volcanic rock), but those ridges make all the difference. You can make smooth, creamy pastes really efficiently. And like other mortar and pestles you can work with very small quantities which is handy and impossible with a food processor or mini chop. Continue reading

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