grinding tomatoes
Mortar and Pestle

A mortar and pestle in my way of thinking is probably one of the most important kitchen appliance in a Togolese kitchen.  It is used  to grind spices and herbs, mash veggies like onions or tomatoes.  The flavors of grinding fresh spices and herbs are more intense and every kitchen should have a some type of mortar and pestle be it small or large.

 I do have a mortar and pestle in my kitchen that was brought back from Togo.  The mortar is clay with grooves in it which helps to grind and blend spices and herbs.  The pestle is made of teak, but easily cracks here in Upper Michigan because of the dryness in the air.  I grind spices like anise, ginger and garlic and grind or mash vegetables like tomatoes, onions and garlic.  I love the aroma of the spices and vegetables as they are being ground or mashed in the mortar. 

A side benefit of using a mortar and pestle is that you are doing toning of your upper arms.  At least I feel that I have had a slight work out when I use the mortar and pestle.  When my husband uses it, it looks effortless.



grinding spices with the mortar and pestle


Another view of the mortar and pestle… ready to grind or mash tomatoes


There also is a larger pestle and mortar that is used to pound fufu but that will be discussed in further posts.

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  1. …where can I purchase a mortar and pestle similar to the image you have for this article?

    1. Maryls brought the one pictured back from Africa and I couldn’t find anything online that looked identical, however, I did find that the mortar resembles a Japanese Surabachi Mortar – Ceramic with grooves. You might try this: (aff)

  2. I love my mortar and pestle! I have a small one that I use for spices, but was considering getting a large one for grinding peppers and other things. I love yours!

    1. I love my mortar and pestle… At first I thought it was too big, but glad I have it now.

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