Mortar And Pestle- 10 Interesting Facts And Recipes

    mortar and pestleThe mortar and pestle use dates back to the era of Egyptians. In ancient times they were used for making medicinal ointments and other cures. Today it is used as a kitchen tool. The evolution of mortar and pestle has been through centuries finding its way in every kitchen and household for making delicious recipes.

    Spices, herbs, and condiments pound in mortar and pestle have a raw, authentic taste that enhances the taste of recipes that do not need to be powered or paste-like condiments.
    Remember your grandmother using it for making a paste or powder with herbs and spices?

    Once upon a time, they used colossal stone mortar and pestles to make turmeric and chilly powder at home. This device has evolved in size, shape, and material used. It is not as heavily weighted as it used to be.

    Mortar And Pestle – History And Ancient Uses

    mortar and pestle

    The Egyptians used them first in the 15th century for medicinal and culinary purposes. It evolved into a decorative tool in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was made in bronze, marble, and other materials with elements such as handles, knobs, etc.

    Over some time, the size and shape of this tool changed. The bronze tool was deemed unusable because it would turn greenish and brown after use. The 17th century introduced porcelain and stone mortar and pestle, still used. These tools are widely used because they do not react with acids or chemicals.

    10 Interesting Facts

    mortar and pestle
    • Native Americans used them for grinding seeds, herbs, chilies, etc. They made these tools made from basalt.
    • Molcajete is the mortar tool used by Native Americans. It is displayed in Smithsonian Museum.
    • Most Mexican dishes like salsa, guacamole, etc., are made using these tools.
    • This tool was invented in the Stone age and was first used by the Kebaran culture.
    • Rock mortars were found in the Raquefet Cave in Israel from the Stone Age and used by the Natufian culture to brew beer.
    • Since the Stone Age, many cultures across the globe, such as Celtics, Africans, Greeks, Indians, etc., started using these tools for grinding, pounding, medicinal, and culinary purpose.
    • These tools are documented in the Egyptian Papyrus and the Old Testament.
    • Mortar and pestle are considered sacred and auspicious in Indian culture. Pestle was used to churn the ocean during the ‘Samudra Manthan’ to get ambrosia, the eternal elixir. The Gods and demons fought from the Bhagavata Purana.
    • In ancient times they have also been used in magical rituals. In pagan cultures, it symbolized fertility depicting the male and female union.
    • Aryans made an elixir as a ritual with the use of these tools.
    Mortar And Pestle Dream Symbolism
    mortar and pestle

    Do you know dreams, symbols, and signs from the universe have a deep significance in our life? If you sense everything deeply, the universe is ready to give you answers and take you to a higher dimension. Have you been living deeply? Do you analyze dreams symbols read in between the lines of what nature is telling you? Mortar and pestle symbols in a dream have a specific meaning.

    • These tools have dream symbolism. If you dream about these tools, it means you are in love with the wrong person.
    • If you find yourself grinding something in the mortar in a dream, it means that someone close to you whom you have not seen for long will visit you.
    • An empty mortar gives you a clue that you are indecisive about the various options and important business decisions you will make in your waking life.
    •  If you are buying a mortar in your dream, it means that the turbulent period is over, and you have new and exciting challenges to face.
    • If you are selling a mortar in your dreams, you are disappointed with someone close to you.
    • A mortar is gifted to you. It’s a sign from the universe telling you that people find you difficult and arrogant, and you must change this about yourself.
    • If someone gifts you a mortar in your dreams, it means you will meet an exciting person.
    • A metal mortar symbolizes a difficult period. A wooden mortar symbolizes you or someone you love will be in good health.
    • A ceramic mortar symbolizes your emotional and sensitive nature. Those close to you find it challenging to deal with you because they feel they are walking on eggshells.
    • A marble mortar depicts a wish you have been fantasizing about coming true.
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    Mortar And Pestle Buying Guide

    mortar and pestle

    How does the idea of freshly ground coffee in the morning sound to your senses? Those who we call ancient were good at everything. Make a paste, powder, or grind any ingredient within a few minutes with these ancient tools.

    Gadgets have replaced these tools. But what will you do if they stop working or if there is a power outage and you need your freshly ground coffee, lemonade, or cardamom tea? This ancient tool is a savior. I understand how this elixir works in the morning for most people. Their size is portable, and they are not the wide varieties our grandparents used. So, what to look for when buying a mortar and pestle?

    • The first thing to look for is the material. Avoid buying the one made from metals like steel, bronze, copper, etc. They react with acids, chemicals, and liquids from certain foods. They also rust over a while.
    • Stone, marble, or granite varieties are long-lasting. They need no maintenance except keeping them clean. They are easy to clean and portable.
    • Avoid wood and any other porous material for daily use because they leave an odor.
    • You find aesthetic and designer tools in processed metal. Still, it is better to stick to the stone, granite, and marble tools if you look at durability.
    • Sizes 2-3 inches are ideal for homes for daily grinding. You can use a large size for heavy grinding up to 8 inches and more.
    • A few tools come with a rubber base to prevent mortar from moving when you grind it.
    • You can find inexpensive, mid-range, and expensive mortars.
    • A few models are dishwasher safe.

    Mortar And Pestle Easy Recipes

    A few recipes taste better when the ingredients are pounded in a mortar instead of a food processor because it retains the authenticity and rawness needed to make the recipe. Maybe you do not want an evenly ground powder or paste. That is when you find these tools handy. You can use these tools if you need a raw texture that evens out inside a food processor.

    Pesto Sauce
    mortar and pestle

    Italian food is just mesmerizing for your taste buds. Make a pesto which is an uncooked sauce used in numerous Italian recipes. Pesto comes from the Italian word meaning ‘pounded.’ It is usually made with greens, herbs, and spices. But you can come up with your version of Pesto and make it taste authentic using the mortar instead of the food processor.

    • Grind basil(4-5 ounces), pine nuts(1/2 cup toasted), parmesan cheese (1/2 cup grated), garlic(1-2 cloves), Kosher salt(1/2 teaspoon), and olive oil(1/2 cup) to make this sauce.
    • Steam these ground ingredients in olive oil instead of blending them.
    • The rustic texture from the ground paste steamed in olive oil gives an authentic, traditional taste.
    • Store it in a jar and refrigerate. You can use it for up to one week.
    Traditional Mexican Guacamole
    mortar and pestle
    taste food

    Guacamole is an ancient Mexican recipe created by Aztecs. It is made with avocado and spices. A nutritious side dish that is tasty controls blood sugar levels cholesterol and is one of the traditional dishes of Mexico.

    • One green jalapeno steamed and chopped
    • 1/4 cup onion and cilantro chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder, black pepper, and salt
    • Two tablespoons lime juice
    • Two large avocadoes halved
    • 2-3 dollops of Tabasco sauce
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    Add chopped garlic, jalapeno, onion in a mortar and grind with a pestle. Add cilantro, avocados, onions, other ingredients and grind with a pestle in circular movements. Add lime juice at last. It is essential to grind in this order to get an authentic taste. Serve with chips, toasted bread, etc.

    Italian Gremolata
    mortar and pestle

    A tangy side dish made with herbs. It is used in stews, soups, pasta, etc. Add flavors of your choice and use them as a side dish. Sprinkle it like a topping on snacks and various dishes.

    • Parsley (1 cup chopped), one clove garlic grated, grated lemon zest.
    • Pound ingredients in a mortar and add salt.
    • Used as a seasoning in various dishes.
    Traditional Mexican Salsa
    mortar and pestle
    • 2-3 tomatoes roasted
    • 1/2 onion and jalapeno each
    • 1 garlic clove
    • pinch of salt

    Grind all jalapenos first, then add onions, salt, and add roasted tomatoes in the last when grinding in the pestle. You can come up with your versions adding ingredients of your choice to make a salsa. This side dish in a mortar instead of a blender gives an authentic taste.

    World Famous Garam Masala
    mortar and pestle

    Most Indian recipes are incomplete without using spiced power called Garam Masala. It is made with raw and roasted Indian spices. Roast these spices and grind them in a mortar to a powder. Sieve it to a fine powder. A freshly made garam masala gives a better taste to the dishes instead of readymade powder. The aroma of freshly ground garam masala boosts the taste of the dishes.

    • 2-3 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 2-3 cloves
    • 5-6 green and black cardamom pods seeded, removing the shell
    • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
    • 2-3 tablespoons cumin seeds
    • One tablespoon fennel seeds
    • One tablespoon black peppercorn seeds
    • 4-5 star anise
    • 8-10 mace strips
    • 7-8 bay leaves
    • 2-3 dried rose petals

    Roast all the ingredients except dried, rose petals in a skillet till the aroma is released. Mix and grind them in the mortar with dried rose petals. Store in a jar. This spice powder is used in the preparation of most Indian curries.

    Masala chai
    mortar and pestle

    Yet another healthy elixir made in India. Herbal tea comes with health benefits. There are umpteen ways to make masala chai. Choose the spices as per your favorite flavor. There are numerous spices used in making masala chai. Choose the ingredients of your choice from a list of spices.

    • 1-2 green cardamom pods deseeded remove the shell
    • 1 clove
    • 1-4 peppercorn seeds
    • 1/4 cinnamon stick
    • A small piece of ginger grated
    • Two tablespoons tea leaves
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
    • 1-2 tablespoons sugar

    Grind all the ingredients except sugar and ginger in a mortar to a powder. Boil water, add tea leaves, ground powder, grated ginger, and sugar for 1-2 minutes. Sieve and add boiled milk. You can make masala tea in milk instead of adding water. The milk and water consistency is as per your taste. You can add various spices such as nutmeg, star anise powder, etc.

    Use ingredients that are hot in taste, such as peppercorns, star anise, cloves, in lesser quantities in proportion to spices with an aromatic and mild taste. 

    Peaceful Home Potions

    mortar and pestle

    Magic is when your heart is pure, and goals align with your soul’s yearning. Everybody wants a peaceful home. They are the roots, a place of rejuvenation, a place of joy that makes you feel grounded. Who wouldn’t want peace and joy in life? You could use mortar and pestle to make potions for peace and harmony. Do you believe in fairies, guardian angels, and magic?

    • Bunch of jasmine flowers
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • Two passion fruit flowers
    • One handful of white rose petals
    • 1/2 cup water

    Mix jasmine, passion fruit, and white rose petals in mortar to make a paste. Infuse it with pure water and keep it in a jar. Keep the jar close to the window on the whole moon night. Let the moonbeams soak in the infused water. Jasmine and white rose have properties of peaceful energy.

    Bring them home with peaceful energies from these flowers if you want to love and harmony at home. Keep changing every day using fresh flowers. You could also use crystal dust and hang pure crystals that are cleansed and energized.

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    Banish Negative Energy And Spirits Incense
    mortar and pestle

    When we are used to not living consciously, our aura may have absorbed negative energies, leading to numerous problems. Incense has a spiritual significance. It is usually made with sacred herbs and roots.

    Make an incense mix at home with mortar and pestle tools with these scared and esoteric herbs, roots, and natural elements that are potent to banish negative entities and energies.

    If you find yourself in lower emotional states such as stress, anger, depression, panic, etc., perform cleansing with this potent, ancient incense. It eliminates negative energy and brings a positive change in your energy, mental and emotional states.

    Many people are still unaware of how regular aura cleansing can help you restore your health and well-being. Whether you believe in magic or not, the natural herbs, roots, and ingredients are powerful for energy cleansing, raising your vibrations making you feel optimistic.

    Use most of the available ingredients and mix with essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, sage, turmeric, etc., which have spiritual significance and healing energies.

    • Handful frankincense granules, solid benzoin resins, solid dragon’s blood resin each
    • 1 large bay leaf
    • 2-3 small pieces of dried rosemary, angelica root, Solomon’s seal root, white sage leaves, rue, rowan bark, St.John’s wort, Dittany of crete.
    • 7-10 drops of lavender essential oil

    Grind all ingredients in a mortar to make a coarse powder. Add drops of essential oil. Blend and store in a jar. Use it as incense and diffuse the smoke you want to cleanse in the room. It clears the room from hostile or bad energies. If you feel a presence of an evil spirit, this incense works like an elixir making your home free from evil spirits.

    Ayurvedic Spice Mix To Eliminate Tamas(negative energy blocks) Guna
    mortar and pestle

    Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical science that involves blends and mixes using herbs, spices, roots, and vegetarian food. Using this healing method is to balance energies inside the body.

    Three primary gunas in Ayurveda are sattvic(peaceful), rajas(energetic, dynamic), tamasic(darkness). Every food you consume has either of these qualities. With the use of Ayurvedic mixes and foods, you can balance these energies. For instance, if you are hyperactive or lazy, then you need to balance the rajas’ guna, which is related to vital energy experienced by the mind, body, and soul.

    If you feel that your moods and state of mind are not balanced, you can use specific ayurvedic recipes to balance these energies inside the body. Ayurveda is an alternative healing method that helps control numerous ailments and balance energies vibrating within your body.

    Our body vibrates with a certain level of energy based on the food we eat, external influences, conscious choices we make. We all deal with stress, pain, challenges. Suppose you feel a sense of heaviness and lack of clarity. In that case, you can use numerous ayurvedic and energy healing recipes to feel positive and align your mind, body, and soul to higher vibrational energy. Use this powder made from spices to eliminate tamasic guna, which leads to lower vibrational energy.

    • One teaspoon fenugreek seeds, 1/2 cinnamon stick, and peppercorns
    • 1 clove
    • One tablespoon coriander, mustard, and cumin seeds each
    • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida or hing

    Roast all the spices in a skillet or a saucepan for 2-3 minutes. Mix and grind all the spices to a fine powder. Use it in cooking various recipes or add a pinch of it to healthy drinks. You can use this spice mix in numerous ways to eliminate tamas or dark energies in your aura.

    Ayurvedic Spice Blend To Remove Toxins From Your Body

    We do not consciously eliminate toxins from our bodies. Add a pinch of this spice mix to warm water to eliminate toxins from your body. It keeps your body free from diseases, boosts your immunity, and gives you vital strength.

    • One tablespoon ginger, cumin, coriander powder
    • Two tablespoons mint leaves and fennel seeds ground
    • 1/2 cup warm water

    Grind mint leaves and fennel seeds in a mortar. Mix all these ingredients in warm water and drink after meals. It flushes toxins out of the body.


    The ancient tool helps make culinary condiments, medicinal elixirs, alternative healing, and energy cleansing recipes. Make side dishes, culinary powders, medicinal ointments, healing incense, etc., with mortar and pestle. This is a valuable and multipurpose tool available in various sizes and materials.


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