Are you using your mortar and pestle correctly? If you find spices scattered all over the countertop, then hold on! You are doing something wrong. One of the most straightforward tools in any culinary arsenal, a mortar and pestle, has been in use since time immemorial. According to legends, the first documented usage of a mortar and pestle dates back to around 35,000 years before Christ (B.C), making it a timeless tool across the globe. A mortar and pestle is durable, chic, and relatively compact compared to a grinding stone or even a mixer grinder. However, every tool comes with its own technique for effective usage. A mortar and pestle is no different; you need to know how to use it correctly to grind spices or make chutney efficiently. Fret not, as always, we have your back!

Here, we bring you a quick guide featuring some essential factors to consider while buying and using a mortar and pestle. Read on.

Also Read: Watch: Neena Gupta Has The Best ‘Jugad’ To Grind Roasted Jeera


Kitchen Tips: Important Facts to Keep in Mind While Buying a Mortar and Pestle:


If you look around, you will find a range of options made of different types of materials. There are mortar and pestles made of stone, wood, and even stainless steel and iron. You need to pick the material based on your usage. While the wooden one needs extra care (for being porous), the ceramic mortar and pestle can be super delicate and breakable.


While we always like products that are smooth and shiny, here, the story is a bit different. As per culinary experts, it is always better to get a mortar with a rough texture on the inside. This will make the grinding process much more accessible.

Shape and Size:

A mortar and pestle is available in different shapes and sizes. Some are cylindrical in shape, while some are oval. Then you have a mortar in the shape of a bowl. If you plan to grind spices in larger quantities, go for the larger size (of mortar and pestle); whereas, if you are alone or in a small-sized family, get hold of a small to medium mortar and pestle for your daily use.


The heavier the tool is, the easier it gets to grind spices. A heavy mortar comes with a thick base that prevents the tool from skidding. Hence, it is important to consider the weight of the product while buying.

Consider the above factors and make a wise choice while buying a mortar and pestle. In the next step, let’s look into some quick tips to keep in mind while using the classic tool.


5 Most Effective Ways to Use a Mortar and Pestle:

Pound it right:

The motion of your pestle plays a significant role in defining the consistency and texture of the herbs and spices. It is always suggested to grind in a circular motion, instead of up-and-down pounding, to get the best results.

Toast the spices:

Always grind whole spices in the tool to add that desired freshness to your dish. It gets even better when you toast the spices on a hot skillet before transferring them to a mortar. This not only makes the process easier but also enhances the flavours of the masala.

Grind in small batches:

However big the tool is, fill the mortar only to its one-third capacity. Adding more spices makes it hard to grind, leaving pieces intact after the grinding process.

Do not over-grind:

While some masalas require fine grinding, others should be kept coarse. Take garlic, for instance. While whole garlic cloves make a dish look better, crushing them coarsely helps add the essential oils to the dish more effectively, further elevating the flavour. So, if your recipe calls for spices or herbs that are not finely ground, we suggest crushing them slightly with a pestle (not grinding or pounding).

Clean after every use:

Cleaning the tool after every use is of utmost importance. It helps eliminate the aroma of spices and prevents it from passing on to the next batch of masalas. You can use soap and hot water or lemon and cornstarch to wash off the leftover spices and the smell. Another trick is to grind raw rice in the mortar with a pestle. The rice will take away all the smell, leaving the tool odour-free.

Follow these genius tips and make cooking a fuss-free affair for all. And don’t forget to let us know how you liked the tricks and hacks in the comments section below.

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