The mortar and pestle is the original food processor and it is still the best. Whether youre preparing Chinese five-spice powder or a Thai curry mix, nothing beats a mortar and pestle for bringing out the natural flavor of Asian ingredients.
Versatile and easy to clean, marble is the most popular choice for cooks who like cooking many ethnic cuisines. The bowl is 4 inches in diameter and comes with a 5-inch pestle.
Even more stain-resistant than marble, ceramic mortar and pestles are becoming quite popular. This mortar and pestle from William Bounds has a long tray and a flattened edge on the pestle, making it easier to mince ginger and garlic.
Made in Thailand, this handcarved wood mortar and pestle is 4 inches in diameter.
Made from olive wood, this would make a lovely gift. The mortar is about 4 inches in diameter and 2.5 inches high.
Made of fine porcelain - and thus a little more expensive than the above model - this set features a 3-inch wide pestle that covers the entire surface of the mortar. This makes for easier and more uniform grinding of spices.