How to Season a Molcajete

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When grinding, push down and in a circular motion to pulverize the food.
When grinding, push down and in a circular motion to pulverize the food. (Image: Angela Schmidt/iStock/Getty Images)

Sturdy molcajetes, the Mexican mortar and pestle sets carved from volcanic rock, get handed down from generation to generation with years of seasoning in the smooth bowl. When you buy a molcajete new, you must prepare it for use by removing loose surface dust and debris. Over time, the spices and vegetables you crush in the bowl add to the rich flavor of your homemade guacamole and salsa.

Things You'll Need

  • Large pot
  • Uncooked rice
  • Wire brush
  • Fresh garlic
  • Cumin
  • Salt

Soak the molcajete in a pot filled with warm water for about an hour to remove dust and debris from the rough surface of the volcanic rock.

Remove the molcajete from the pot and throw in a handful of uncooked rice.

Grind the rice in the bowl with the tejolete -- the pestle -- to a fine powder. Remove the powder and repeat this step until the powder remains white instead of turning gray. You may have to repeat this five or more times.

Put 4 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt into the bowl and grind them together. This is the "seasoning." The garlic adds oil to smooth the interior of the bowl and make it ready to make your first batch of salsa or guacamole.

Rinse the seasoning from the bowl with clean water. Allow the molcajete to air dry thoroughly before storing it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rinse the molcajete and tejolete thoroughly in warm water after each use, but don't use detergents. The stone can absorb soap and the scents it contains, tainting your food.
  • Don't buy a cheap molcajete. They tend to be shallow and are best used for decoration. Some of them are mixed with cement and deposit grit into your food, no matter how well you season it or how long you use it.

References

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