Molcajete~the ancient Mexican Cuisinart!
Recently I was given a Molcajete by my Spanish tutor Lily Lopez. I was very honored to have received this as a gift especially since it was given to her by her mother as a present for me. The basalt Molcajete was very worn & shows much care in the way it has been used for many years. This time honored classic has been used since Aztec times here in Latin America. It is used for centuries to grind, blend. It has been called the Cuisninart of Mexico. In this day & age the many cooks are using the blender to do the work of the Molcajete but it is still the truest & most honored addition to a true Mexican kitchen~or a nice conversation piece.The Molcajete is from the state of Jalisco where the basalt rock is carved into a bowl shape. (found a photo of men carving on web.)
Included below is a recipe I have used when I make Chicken Enchiladas. You don't have to have a Molcajete to make this tasty sauce~please feel free to use your blender. Bon Appetit!
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde
10-12 Tomatillos (green with husks & look like small tomatoes), roasted
1-2 yellow onions
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 green bell pepper, roasted
3-4 Anaheim or Hatch chilies, roasted
2-3 Jalapeno peppers, roasted
10-12 cloves garlic, roasted
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. fresh Mexican oregano, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste
All peppers, onions, tomatillos must be roasted. These can be done on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-20 min. Turn these veggies so the roast evenly or you can use a stovetop comal to roast & blacken the vegtables. When they are softened & browned/blackened(stove top) Remove from the heat & cool slightly. Use tongs or gloves to de-seed the peppers. Put all the ingredients in a blender, food processor or Molcajete & process to desired texture. Adjust & add the herbs, spices. Let this sit at least 1 hour for flavors to meld together. Enjoy!
The word molcajete (mortar) derives from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs: “molli” (seasoning or sauce) and “caxitl” (bowl).