Kari is the manager of Whisk, a kitchenware store in Brooklyn.
With bamboo, it's not as heavy as stone/ceramic, so you'd have to use more strength, but i've never heard/seen anything that can't be done!
A bamboo mortar and pestle may not work if you're looking to crush harder spices such as dried ginger. I use my wooden set more to blend spice powders together, with just that little bit of pressure to release the combined aroma. the stone ones work well for crushing any other spices.
I love my wooden mortar and pestle for mashing garlic into a paste - add kosher salt and some garlic cloves and crush until smooth and creamy. It makes a wonderful base for dressing and brings out the sweetness of the garlic. I used it to crush anise and peppercorns the other day and it was fine. Does not work as well on larger/harder spices.
@improvcuisine.. How do you get that lingering tinge of garlicky smell out of the wood? I avoid washing my wooden mortar as much as I can & it took me a while (a couple of days in the hot sun) to get that smell out.
panfusine, thank you for asking improvcuisine that question--that is my problem exactly! I can't get the garlic smell out, so I was thinking maybe I shouldn't use my bamboo mortar and pestle for garlic! thoughts/ideas?
Its always a smooth surfaced stone set for the garlic chutneys after that one time!
I've never seen a bamboo mortal and pestle, though ti sounds beautiful. I have a wooden one made from Argentine palosanto. What I really love using it for is blending herbs to make herbal teas or infusions I'm going to use for cream or broth. It is gentle enough for dry green leaves-- marble would leave them utterly undone. Also, I have used it to mash fresh herbs into olive oil. Good luck!
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Panfusine, rubbing the wooden mortar with lemon rind should take away the garlic odor.
To me it seems the bamboo would be harder to keep sanitary. I have stone and I really like the easy to clean, sanitary aspect of it.
@ChefDaddy Actually, bamboo is naturally anti-microbial!
I did not know that. My local health department doesn't allow bamboo steamers.
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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