Cooking in Mali How to use a pestle and mortar
The mortar and pestle are one of the oldest most recognized pharmacy and kitchen tool used throughout the world. Use a mortar and pestle to grind and mix spices, crush herbs and nuts or pound starches.
The mortar and pestle is a kitchen gadget that was found in every urban and rural African kitchen. However, emerging technology in the African food culture is threatening the once commonplace mortars and pestles of old. Mortars and pestles were once used to husk and dehull grain but village electric grain mills are slowly replacing the hand labor intensive mortars and pestles.
There are many recipes where hand mixing and grinding with a mortar and pestle put the consistency of the mixing and grinding in your hands. Place ingredients in the mortar or bowl portion, using the pestle end slowly move the rounded pestle end against the mortar to grind. In order to pound, move the pestle up and down rhythmically to the desired consistency.
To the left is a charcoal stove for cooking along with a container for water and a plate of red pepper. To the right are two traditional earthen jars for water as well as plastic buckets for washing the dishes.
Typical meals in Mali consist of some kind of starch, rice or pounded millet, along with a sauce, which can be leafy green or more like gravy. Sometimes the meals may include a little meat.