What is a Molcajete, And How Can it be Used to Make You Some Delicious Food?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | 7:58 pm

When you visit a restaurant, it’s common to wonder how on earth chefs make something so simple taste so good. And if, like us, you’re into Mexican food, you’ll often be left figuring out how to make your own dishes at home.

Salsa is the bread and butter of Mexican cuisine. It adds flavor to tortilla chips and more and can be made as mild or spicy as you like.

The only problem is homemade salsa never tastes quite so good. Pasadena restaurant, Cabrera’s Mexican Cuisine, has revealed the secret to authentic Mexican salsa. And it has nothing to do with ingredients.

The molcajete is the Mexican version of the pestle and mortar. Usually a volcanic stone bowl, it is used to grind ingredients downs and is renowned as the key to a great salsa.

If you’re interested in purchasing your very own molcajete, watch this video to learn how to use it the Mexican way:

The use of molcajetes in cooking stretch back thousands of years to the time of the Aztec and Mayan people. The tool was so loved that it is believed to have been a part of ancient burial rituals for important members of society. Now, they are mainly used to crush spices for the likes of salsa and guacamole as well as a way to keep food hot in restaurants.

The process of breaking in a molcajete isn’t an easy one. As they are traditionally made from basalt, small grains of the rock can end up in the food when first used. So chefs resort to grinding uncooked white rice in the bowl until the basalt stops loosening.

It’s also incredibly difficult to fully clean a basalt molcajete so flavors from one dish are carried over to another, creating a rich salsa flavor and distinct texture.

Cabrera’s restaurant uses the molcajete for a special dish. Choose from either steak, chicken or shrimp (or a combo of all three). The meat is placed on a layer of cactus covered with panel cheese, grilled chorizo and onions. The finishing touch? None other than the chef’s homemade molcajete sauce.

Cabrera’s Mexican Cuisine is located at 655 N Lake Ave, in Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 223-2045 or visit http://cabreras.com/.

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