How to Care for Molcajete

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Season your molcajete before using it for the first time.
Season your molcajete before using it for the first time. (Image: mortar and pestle with oregano image by Brett Mulcahy from Fotolia.com)

A molcajete is a Mexican mortar, commonly used to serve Mexican dips such as salsa and guacamole. Cooks grind ingredients in the molcajete with a tejolote, which is a Mexican pestle. Both pieces are made of volcanic rock, which explains their dark surface and bumpy texture. Before you use your molcajete for the first time, you should season it to smooth the surface and get rid of any unsavory flavors trapped in the rock.

Things You'll Need

  • Molcajete
  • Tejolote
  • White rice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Warm water
  • Oven

Seasoning your molcajete

Measure 1/4 cup of uncooked white rice into your molcajete.

Grind the rice into the bottom and sides of your molcajete with your tejolote. As the rice smooths the basin of your molcajete, it will grind to a powder and turn gray. Dispose of the powder.

Measure another 1/4 cup of white rice into the molcajete, grind and repeat the process until the ground rice is white.

Peel the garlic and place the cloves in your molcajete. Add cumin, salt and pepper. Grind all ingredients with your tejolote around the entire basin, and then rinse with warm water. Allow your molcajete to dry completely before storing.

Maintenance

After each use, rinse your molcajete with warm water. Do not use soap, as the stone will absorb it and later release it into your food.

Always make sure that your molcajete is dry before putting it away.

To sanitize your molcajete, put it in an oven set at 350 F for 20 minutes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Beware of websites selling concrete molcajetes at low prices and claiming they are made of basalt.

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