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The Authentic Mexican Salsa book also features interesting sections on “The Molcajete” (Mortar) and illustrated sections on “Traditional Chiles of Mexico” and the “Scoville Scale”.

A must have for a SALSA lover!

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The Molcajete and Tejolote (Mortar and Pestle)

The Molcajete is the oldest tools used in Mexican cooking for grinding spices, it was used in Meso America by the Aztec and Mayan cultures. the authentic Molcajete es handcrafted from a single block of porous basalt volcanic rock. Molcajetes are typically round in shape and supported by three short legs. The rough surface of the basalt stone creates a superb surface for grinding spices and chiles in spite of time and wear, this surface stays porous, because of the bubbles of air released from the basalt, guaranteeing an ideal surface for grinding.

Salsa and guacamole prepared in a Molcajete are known to have a distinctive texture and flavor which is superior to those prepared in conventional blenders or food processors. Molcajetes are also used as serving dishes in restaurants and homes. When the molcajete is heated using an open fire, hot coals or in the oven, it will stay hot for a long time, sometimes for more than 30 minutes.

Taking care of your Molcajete

The Molcajete should be seasoned before using it. To season a Molcajete you should follow these steps:

  • Remove all loose particles of stone from it.
  • Soak it in cold water overnight or at lest for a couple of hours.
  • take some dry white rice (uncooked) and grind it with the tejolote or pestle all over the inner surface of the molcajete. Discard the rice and repeat the process until the rice stays completely withe and not gray any longer.
  • Alternative is to buy a brush with copper bristles and scrape the wet molcajete until you cannot feel any more grit in the water, maybe 15 minutes or so depending of the stiffness of the brush.
  • Never use detergent or dish soap in the molcajete to clean it. You should treat it like you would a cast iron skillet, use plenty of cold water and a soft brush and let it dry out.
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