Ethnic Featured Fun in the Kitchen

Cooking in Africa ~ A bigger mortar and pestle

Mortar and pestle

In the last posting I did of Cooking in Africa, I talked about the use of a mortar and pestle for grinding or mashing foods like spices, and tomatoes.  In Togo there is also a large mortar and pestle that is used to pound fufu which is a staple food in Togo and many other African countries.

mortar and pestle
An African Mortar and Pestle

Most mortar and pestles that are used or at least the ones that I have seen were made of wood.  It if very common to hear the rhythmic pounding of fufu everywhere you go.  Fufu can be pounded by one to several people depending on what quantity of fufu is needed.  In a family it is pounded by one to two people but in the “chop” shops which are like a fast food outlet or a restaurant, fufu can be pounded by upto six people.  It is amazing how they can be so rhythmic and not seem to miss a beat.

We do have a mortar and pestle in our house and when we are able to get African yams or cassava, we pound fufu.  I leave the pounding  up to my husband as it is very hard work and I haven’t got the rhythm down, I end up hitting the side of the mortar more often then not.

Mortar and pestle
The mortar and pestle that we use in our home


mortar and pestle
A smaller size mortar and pestle














In my next article I will show you how to make fufu in the mortar pestle and will have more pictures.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on YummlyShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInPrint this pageEmail this to someone

Marlys @This and That

A Canadian transplant into USA with an African husband, you can see my adventures in internationally cooking over at This and That.

You may also like...


  1. Do you know of any places in America where one can be purchased? Very Similar to the one you have at home? I live in New York

  2. I am looking so hard to find a large wooden mortar and pestle from Africa. Can you advise me anywhere I can locate one?
    I grew up in Nigeria, and I need it for processing my grains.

  3. Busy Vegetarian Mom says:

    I LOVE that mortar and pestle!

    1. Margaret says:

      If you like the mortar and pestle, then you might like the stone grinder – used to ‘blend’ tomatoes, peppers and onions before the advent of blenders. Though it is still used in some houses in this day and age.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *