Like the metate, it is estimated that molcajetes have been used for thousands of years in Mexico, and to this day, it is still one of the most efficient tools for grinding small amounts of spices and other ingredients. The molcajete is especially great for making guacamole, salsas, and marinades as all of the ingredients can be crushed and served in the same place.
Molcajetes can also be used as a cooking tool to serve warm dishes and sauces. This is done by heating up the molcajete over an open fire or hot coals.
When using a molcajete for the first time it is important to cure the surface before preparing any food in it - if not, small particles from the rock will end up in your food. In order to cure a molcajete, you need to smoothen the surface. Because molcajetes are made from volcanic rocks, which are quite porous, it is not recommended to use soap to wash a molcajete, as the soap will sink into the rock affecting the taste of the food that you prepare in it. To begin with, the molcajete will also have a rough, light grey, gritty appearance with large holes.
While there are different guides, on how to cure a molcajete before use, we recommended the following method:
- Rinse and soak the molcajete. Use a brush to remove some of the sediment that is trapped in the crevices of the stone.
- Use the pestle to grind up several cloves of garlic and about a handful of rice until it turns into a paste. Take your time, and spread the paste all around inside of the molcajete. When you’re done, let the molcajete rest for 24 hours.
- Rinse away the paste from the molcajete.
- You’re done!
Once your molcajete has been cured it can be used to make delicious homemade salsas, guacamoles, pestos, and much more. The benefits of using a metate or molcajete over a modern-day blender is that when using a blender the ingredients are chopped into small bits, whereas with a molcajete or metate the ingredients are crushed entirely and smoothed, bringing out the full aroma, intensity, and taste of the spices.
If you are interested in getting your hands on a molcajete of your own, then click here. There are various provinces in Mexico where molcajetes and metates are produced. Our molcajetes are made in Puebla. Both the molcajete and metate are made by hand, and carved from large stones, and can take up to an entire day to make.