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Even though the evolution of kitchen tools has made cooking a lot easier but still a few things like Suribachi and Surikogi (Japanese mortar and pestle) set have their unique importance on the kitchen counter.
This type of Japanese mortar and pestle is small and handy which makes it very easy to use. It’s the best tool to grind spices because shallow grooves are going vertically up and down inside the bowl which holds the spices in place and grinds them efficiently.
These pestle and mortars are not only good for grinding spices, they are even used to mash garlic and make a paste of lemon zest. These are affordable and so easy to clean. Hence, they have been used all around the world for their practicality. Let’s go through a few types of Japanese mortar and pestle –made in Japan– that are best in the market:
Our top picks:
- Best for everyday usage: Ripple Ridge Mortar and Pestle
- Best sturdy set: Tikusan Ceramic Ripple Ridge Mortar & Pestle
- Best budget: Helen’s Asian Kitchen Suribachi Set
- Best overall: Ripple Ridge Mortar and Pestle
- Best with traditional values: Zen Table Japan Ceramic Mortar & Pestle Set
- Best for gifting: White Karatsu Zen Table Mortar & Pestle Set
BEST FOR EVERYDAY USE: Ripple Ridge Mortar and Pestle
The ripple ridge mortar and pestle are handmade in Japan which is perfect for both right and left-handed people. There are waved inside the mortar that helps in keeping the ingredients intact in the bottom which is why Japanese mortar and pestle’s are famous through out the world.
It is a perfect tool for elderly people and for people who do not want to spend too much time in the kitchen.
Food ground in this mortar is fresher and flavourful because less heat is produced due to rubbing. The size is perfect for grinding spices, seeds, and more.
- Easy to use and easy to clean
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
- Minimizes cooking time
- Can be used with the left or right hand
- The pestle is smaller in size
- It is handmade so sizes can be a bit different for each product
This Japanese mortar and pestle is a good kitchen tool for everyday cooking and it saves you a lot of hassle in the kitchen. If you want a small and handy Suribachi and Surikogi then this is a good choice.
BEST STURDY SET: Tikusan Ceramic Ripple Ridge Mortar & Pestle
This ceramic mortar and pestle set made in Japan are completely handmade which makes it special. There are waves inside the mortar due to which you do not have to worry about spilling the ingredients. It is very sturdy and useful due to which it has been recommended by many well-known chefs.
It is durable hence you can use it for years. Many sets are used to grind seeds or spices but people claim to make salsa and dressings in this Suribachi and Surikogi set. It works well even with the wet ingredients of salsa. Some of the food might get strangled in those waves but it can be taken out easily with a brush.
- It is sturdy and perfect for everyday use.
- It can be used to make salsa and dressing.
- It can be used with both left and right hands.
- The pestle might get stained and does not clean properly.
It’s a good option if you are looking for a sturdy Japanese mortar and pestle to meet everyday needs. It minimizes the hassle of cleaning, it is very easy to clean and use.
BEST BUDGET: Helen’s Asian Kitchen Suribachi Set
Made from ceramic earthware and a glazed exterior, this Helen’s Suribachi is sturdy and durable. It has an unglazed interior which makes it rough from inside to catch the ingredients strongly and prevent them from sliding out. It has comparatively higher ridges which make the grinding very fast and easy.
In appearance, it looks clean and pretty. Many people claim that they use this particular Japanese mortar and pestle set to lather their shaving foams and this one does the job in just 10 seconds.
- It requires minimal effort.
- It is quite affordable.
- Does the job well.
- It can be used to lather shaving cream as well.
- Pestle is not very sturdy, it might be a little bad quality
- The size might be too small for some people.
It may be a great option if you are looking for a sturdy and affordable Suribachi and Surikogi set. It requires minimum effort to perform the job but the pestle needs to be improved, it is made of quite low quality wood.
BEST OVERALL: Ripple Ridge Mortar and Pestle
A genuine Japanese-made mortar and pestle set which is perfect for grinding spices, herbs, and seeds. The size of this product is great it is not too big or too small, a good amount of ingredients can be ground at a time.
It also has spouts on both sides which makes pouring easy. The waved mortar helps in keeping the ingredients intact at the bottom.
- It can also be used as a decoration piece owing to its beautiful looks.
- Large enough to grind a good amount of ingredients
It is a great option for gifting purposes and it does the job very well. The size is great to incorporate a large number of spices or herbs. It also adds beauty to your kitchen.
BEST WITH TRADITIONAL VALUE: Zen Table Japan Ceramic Mortar & Pestle Set
It can be used to grind ingredients like sesame seeds or even dressing for salads. It has very fine waves inside it which makes grinding easier for both left and right-handed people.
- The size of the product is perfectly deep and wide.
- It looks good on the counter top.
- It can be used as a small serving bowl separately.
It is a perfect choice for people looking for a traditional pestle and mortar set because it is made according to the old cultural values of Japanese people who created this type of Suribachi and Surikogi.
BEST FOR GIFTING: White Karatsu Zen Table Mortar & Pestle Set
This sophisticated white mortar and pestle set has also been created by Japanese pottery artist Akiko Kato. It is made of ceramic with a lot of textures inside to make the grinding process easy. It can be used to grind dry ingredients like seeds and wet ingredients like salad dressings.
Since it has a beautiful white color it is a classic and traditional design that can be a perfect gift for weddings or anniversaries.
- The color is very beautiful
- It is quite shallow so it can fit in hand well.
- It is safe to be used in microwave and dishwashers
- It is quite expensive and not everyone can afford it.
It is a great fit for someone who is looking for a beautiful yet useful addition to their home. The set performs the job perfectly and it has also been created by the famous Japanese pottery artist.
What does Suribachi mean?
Suribachi means ‘grinding bowl’ and this word is used for Japanese mortar and pestle.
How do you clean Suribachi?
Suribachi does not need to be cleaned with soap. Just soak it with warm water for 20 minutes and then clean it with a soft bristle brush. It should be scrubbed roughly.
Do my new Japanese mortar and pestle needs to be seasoned?
Yes, you need to season a new Japanese mortar and pestle to remove stone grit from the inside because it can mix with the ingredients that you will grind.
What is the best size of a mortar and pestle?
The mortar and pestle should be handy and easy to use hence it should not be too large or too small.
Why the inside of the mortar is rough?
The mortar is left rough from inside deliberately so that the ingredients do not spill out of the bowl. The food stays intact into those rough waves and the job is done within a few seconds.
Though old conventional kitchen routines have almost faded off from the world, still old items like mortar and pestle are used throughout the world. Despite the invention of electric grinders, mortar and pestle are still widely sold and purchased because it has many advantages over electric grinders.
The world admires Japanese mortar and pestle due to their unique designs and if you are convinced to buy them, the list to consult is up there. Your kitchen will be having a new unique and amazingly advantageous tool for your daily kitchen routine.