Many countries have their own unique version of a mortar & pestle; Thailand is no exception. Being the home of many spectacular dishes that require the distinctive mashed texture that comes from working with the earthen mortar & pestle, Thailand has long been the world’s premier exporter of this tall, dark brown kitchen tool.

Made from clay, this mortar & pestle used throughout Thailand and Laos is much taller than most other mortar & pestles due to the fact that many of the dishes made using this tool create a lot of splash. It is therefore created specifically to prevent splashing of ingredients such as lime juice and shrimp paste, both used in popular dishes such as Som Tam (green papaya salad) or Nam Prik Pao (Thai chili paste). The top of this mortar & pestle features a thicker rimmed edge, also designed to contain all the ingredients during the mashing or grinding process. The clay mortar should be accompanied by a large wooden pestle that looks somewhat similar to a rolling pin in size and shape.

The mortar’s clay composition allows for a more effective result of mashing or grinding ingredients into a paste as compared to other mortar & pestles made from marble, super smooth stone, smooth wood or similar substance. Personally, I have only found great use for only the Thai and Indonesian mortar & pestle types, the former being made of the aforementioned clay and the latter made from a rough stone that provides excellent friction for mashing ingredients.

Where you can purchase a Clay Mortar & Pestle online:

Grocery Thai

Import Food

Temple of Thai