Ah, the molcajete, a gorgeous little Mexican version of the classic mortar and pestle. You bought one from the store and the first time you used it, you ended up with little bits of rock in your guacamole. “Gross!” you thought, as you chipped another tooth. “Why doesn’t this taste like the restaurant guacamole?”
Like a good cast iron pan, an authentic molcajete made from lava rock requires seasoning! You can always buy pre-seasoned ones, but sometimes the best preparation comes from a little bit of homework. Our molcajetes come in raw form straight from Mexico, so they have a bit of natural sediment buildup in them. As you know, lava rock is quite porous, making it prone to collecting bits of dirt and dust. Here, we’ll show you step-by-step instructions on how to clean, prep, and season your molcajete for the best salsas and sauces!
Fair bit of warning: This process takes at least two days, so prep ahead!
1. soak the molcajete
For this step, you want to get rid of the larger bits of sediment. Soak, spray, or hose off the molcajete. Never, ever use soap to clean your molcajete. EVER. The porous material will soak it all in, then transferring it to your food. All you need is a good bit of water. If you’re soaking the molcajete, let it sit in warm water for at least two hours. If you’re spraying it, spray continuously (a garden hose works great) for 5 minutes, getting every nook and cranny. Then, let it air dry for at least 12 hours until thoroughly dry.
2. grind white rice to a fine powder
Ready to get that arm workout? Lay down an old towel on your countertop (trust us on this one). This will catch any flyaway pieces of rice and also protect your counter from scraping. Set aside 1/2 cup white rice soaked in 1/2 cup water. You’ll use this later.
Once the bowl is completely dry from step 1, add 2 tbs of dry white rice to the molcajete.
Grab the pestle and start grinding. You’ll want to grind in a twisting circular motion until the rice is a fine powder. You’ll notice that as you continue grinding, the powder will turn a slight grey color. This is the rock sediment being polished off the surface and crevices.
Empty the rice powder once it’s done. Do this three more times.
3. grind water-soaked white rice to fine paste
Now that the dry white rice is out of the way, we’re moving onto the paste! Add two tbs of the water-soaked rice mixture to the bowl.
Grab your pestle and start squishing and grinding until the mixture becomes a paste. Make sure to move the mixture up the sides of the bowl and get it into every nook and cranny. The paste may look a little grey in color and that’s okay. Rinse once it is completely pasted with no lumps or granules. You’ll do this process at least three times until the paste is completely white.
If you notice that there are rice granules stuck inside the pores of the molcajete, that’s also okay. You can feel free to pick them out or leave them, as they’ll disintegrate over time and use. Once the final rice paste process is complete, rinse the bowl thoroughly.
4. season with garlic, serrano pepper, and kosher salt
This is the final step in the seasoning process and the most fragrant one. If you love the smell of garlic, then you’ll be in heaven. Take two cloves of garlic, one serrano pepper sliced, and 1 tbs of kosher salt. Throw it into the bowl.
Grind it until it turns into a paste and coat the inside of the bowl.
Let the mixture sit in the bowl for at least two hours, four hours max. After it’s been thoroughly soaked into the pores, rinse the mixture out of the molcajete using warm water.
5. Let Molcajete Air Dry Overnight
Let air dry overnight. And that’s the last time you’ll ever have to season your molcajete! It’s a one-time process.
Now go rest your arms, maybe do some light yoga or stretching, Read a book? Or better yet, look up new recipes that you can now make in your well-seasoned molcajete! You can try this amazing and simple Easy Guacamole recipe that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. Especially when you bring it out in your Authentic Mexican Molcajete! Guacamole pairs perfectly with these better than take out (Keto-friendly) burrito bowls or our favorite grilled steak fajitas! Whatever you’re whipping up with your molcajete, be sure to serve up these spicy palomas, too!
Post and photos edited and updated on May 2, 2018.