If you love guacamole, and plan to make lots of it for the Super Bowl, you need a molcajete!
This uniquely Mexican version of the mortar and pestle, the molcajete, with its tejolote, can be found in nearly every Mexican kitchen, whether home or restaurant. Both pieces are carved of basalt stone and would be recognized by the ancients of Mesoamerica. Molcajetes have been excavated from many Maya and Aztec archeological sites in Mexico, and are instantly recognizable, because their form has not changed over thousands of years – the molcajete is a three-legged bowl while its matching tejolote is held in one hand and used to prepare ingredients, such as grinding or crushing spices, grains, and vegetables.
The molcajete can also be used as a serving dish – use the tejolote to grind, smash & combine ingredients, then serve right from the molcajete. Cleanup is easy – much like cleaning cast iron pans – rinse with water, use gentle soap if needed, and expect your bowl to season over time the way cast iron does. Although these are prepping rather than cooking utensils, there are restaurants in Puerto Peñasco that serve a variety of cooked meats in a pre-heated molcajete, which keeps the food hot after it is served because the stone holds its heat so well.
Authentic molcajetes can be bought at some local stores along the Malecón and in Curios la Cholla, as well as in The Kitchen Store on Blvd Benito Juarez just south of Calle Constitución. Prices vary according to size and material. I have a tiny molcajete that I use for grinding spices, and a large one that I used to prepare and serve. You may see molcajetes made of volcanic rock or even molded cement, which are priced considerably lower than those of basalt stone. The basalt stone is much harder to carve due to its density, and is worth the extra money, because it will not “grind away” with use, while the stone molcajete may well become part of your legacy!
Before using your new molcajete, season it by grinding small hands full of white rice, one at a time. You may notice little dark flecks in the rice powder; these are tiny stone burrs left over from carving the stone. Repeat until there are no more dark flecks, and your molcajete and tejolote are food-ready. Below is a recipe to prepare and serve in the molcajete. You might consider using the molcajete and tejolote for more than guacamole – think mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, nuts for nut butters, peanut butter and banana sandwich spread – you get the idea!
1 garlic clove
3 green onions
6 ripe avocados
7-8 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
½ bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Salt & Pepper
Using the tejolote, in the molcajete mash the garlic to a paste, then mash in the onions. Now mash in the avocados. Add tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, lime juice. Stir to combine, then add salt and pepper to taste. Tweak the recipe to your liking (isn’t everything better with bacon?) and enjoy with chips, raw veggies, or on top of a baked potato! Provecho!