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Cooking glossary

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Pestle and mortar

A pestle is a heavy pounding tool that is used in a mortar, a small solid bowl, to grind or crush a wide variety of ingredients including whole spices. Pestles and mortars are very often made from the same material - usually stone, marble, wood, glass or unglazed porcelain. For best results the mortar should have a slightly rough surface - this increases the friction between the ingredient and the pestle.