Can I use a mortar and pestle to cook something? Though it’s not ideal, you can use a mortar to make do in a pinch if you’re ever in a pinch in the kitchen and need to imitate a smoker or grill but don’t have access to one since you live in a micro-apartment.
But you can get the job done with a little hacking and your mortar and pestle. However, there are some permanent consequences to burning things in your mortar and pestle, and depending on the extent of damage, it may alter the flavour of the things you crush in the future.
Why use a mortar to burn things?
In contrast to other types of mortar and pestle, such as the wooden one, individuals typically use their granite mortar and pestle to burn things (with an emphasis on granite). The granite mortar and pestle can safely hold a flame, as the flame will not spread outside the instrument even if left unattended.
Burning what you need in a contained system, like a mortar and pestle, is the greatest method to prevent a full-scale fire from breaking out.
The shape is perfect for enclosing a fire or other hot materials so that they don’t go flying all over the place.
Without an oven, you can still achieve that roasted flavour by grinding your spices in a mortar and then torching them for around 10 to 30 seconds. By doing so, you can keep the fire under control while enjoying spices with a much richer flavour.
Materials for use with a mortar and pestle that can be burned
Some examples of objects that can be burned in a mortar and pestle are listed below.
If you want to smoke your meat or veggies but don’t have a smoker (a smoke gun) or access to one, you can still achieve the desired effect by using a charcoal grill or a gas grill with a smoker insert.
The most common method for imitating this smoky flavour is to use a smoker; alternatively, you can use wood chips, preferably dry ones with a pleasant smoky aroma, to enhance the meat’s umami flavour.
Wood chips can be used to make smoke by placing them in a mortar and lighting them on fire with a flame before extinguishing the blaze.
That you use to marinade the meat by laying a stainless steel mesh or net across the face of the mortar, setting the meat on the net, then covering the whole thing with tin foil and smoking it for as long as you like. It’s important to keep an eye on it and ensure the chips don’t burn too quickly.
If you want to create a supermini grill in your kitchen, you can burn some coal in a mortar and pestle. However, this can be extremely dangerous if you aren’t used to working with open flames.
In order to use charcoal, one must first obtain kindling and then light the charcoal in a mortar and pestle.
Put a net made of metal trays across the top of the mortar, start grilling, and remember to be careful around fire if you’re using a gas stove. It’s best to do it outside if at all possible.
When roasted over an open flame, the flavour of some spices (dry spices and herbs, such as cumin, coriander, and dry curry leaves) is enhanced.
You can lightly burn the spices in the mortar by roasting them with a butane torch or a lighter, but you should only do so much as you need because the shelf life of the spice drops dramatically after roasting. Carefully roast it until it forms a powder, taking care not to let it become too dark or burn.
Pros and Cons of burning stuff in your mortar and pestle
It’s crucial to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before deciding whether or not it’s worth it to burn the items listed above or to go crazy and burn even more things in your mortar and pestle.
- If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a traditional grill but still want to create barbeque, you can do so quickly and easily with just a mortar and pestle and a cutting board.
- Saves time in the kitchen — To quickly roast herbs and spices, simply place them in a mortar and use a torch to toast them until they reach the desired level of crunchiness.
- If you’re looking to add a Smokey flavour to your dishes but don’t have access to a smoke gun, you can easily create the effect by burning aromatic wood chips in a mortar and then dousing the food in the resulting smoke.
- The soot (essentially carbon residue) which is produced when you set fire to coal or wood in your mortar will stain the mortar, and it can become extremely tough to wipe out no matter how hard you scrub. If you ask me, that’s a lot of pain for a little bit of smoked pork.
- Can lead to a fire if you’re not paying attention; accidents happen quickly while working with open flames, and we often try to do multiple things at once in the kitchen. Since we burn items in the mortar, there is a chance of a fire starting, thus doing so is not a good idea.
Is it safe to use a mortar and pestle?
It is, but only if you take the time to “cure” the mortar and pestle when you first get it. This involves sanding the inside of the mortar with the pestle using a dry ingredient like rice until you get all the specks and dust off and fill the crevices & pores, which is done to prevent you from accidentally ingesting dust that may mix in with your spices when you grind them.
You should also avoid keeping your mortar and pestle on the edge of the counter, where it could accidentally fall on your feet.
What are mortar and pestle good for?
Use them to prepare tasty condiments like guacamole and pesto. You may use your mortar and pestle to mash or grind just about anything, whether it’s dried or fresh, provided you only need to do so in small batches.
To avoid any confusion in flavour, remember to always wash your hands after handling spices.
What material is good for mortar and pestle?
The mortar and pestle you use should be made from biodegradable materials, but that’s just my opinion. Also, stay away from any plastics or other items that may off-gas harmful chemicals. Choose either stone or wood as your material of preference.
How do you grind spices in a mortar and pestle?
As easy as putting the spices in the mortar, a small bit at a time so it does not spill when you start pounding.
Repeat this process of stomping the spices with the pestle in a vertical motion until the spices have reached the appropriate consistency and smoothness.
Are granite mortar and pestle “dishwashers safe”?
I’d have to say no to that. The answer is no. They’re built to last and look great because they’re granite. As a result, they are so hefty that you risk damaging your dishwasher or injuring yourself if you try to wash them in there.
If you want to keep your granite mortar and pestle smelling fresh, avoid using soap while washing them by hand.
How do you clean a mortar and pestle?
A extremely abrasive sponge and a steady supply of running water are all that is required to get the job done, as was previously said.
Can I Burn Things In A Mortar And Pestle – Conclusion
Always use extreme caution while burning substances in a mortar and pestle; have a fire extinguisher handy, and never leave the mortar unattended.
As a fan of all things smoky, I can get the allure of smoking meat with wood chips, but if doing so puts your safety at jeopardy, it is not worth it.
Keep to yourself, eat well, drink plenty of water, and mind your own business when necessary; cheers!