A home kitchen is typically filled with all kinds of electronic gadgets. Yet there are some food preparation tools that are so useful that they have remained the same, and in steady use, for hundreds of years.
One of these items is the Mortar and Pestle. There are many varieties of this beloved kitchen tool, and the SURI by GEFU combines a traditional Japanese suribachi and surikogi, Japanese mortar and pestle, with a ceramic ginger grater oroshigane to create a multi-purpose tool that is both elegant and effective.
A suribachi is a pottery bowl with a glazed exterior and rim and an unglazed interior. What makes suribachi different from other mortars is that the unglazed interior is scored with diagonally spiraling ridges called kushime or kushinome, meaning comb pattern. The ridges not only facilitate the pulverizing of seeds, nuts and so on, but they also extract oils and moisture from food more efficiently than a mortar with a smooth surface.
The surikogi pestle, meanwhile, is always made of hardwood — you should never use metal, stone or other material that may damage the suribachi’s ridges. Surikogi traditionally used to be made from the wood of the sansho pepper tree, but nowadays many kinds of hardwoods are used. The GEFU Mortar utilizes peach tree wood.
Grinding bowls or mortars were first introduced to Japan from China around the sixth century, although they didn’t develop their characteristic ridges until centuries later. The dense, geometric pattern of ridges that we see in suribachi today developed in the 17th century.
What makes the SURI superior to electric mixers and food processors is the degree of control it can afford — it’s possible to bruise and mash the food in addition to merely pulverizing it, so seeds and nuts ground up in the SURI can be worked into a sticky paste or is perfect for making a delicious pesto. Even roasted peanut can be made into peanut butter using the SURI.
The Ginger grater can be used to grater ginger, garlic, turmeric or wasabi into just the right consistency. The Grater has a removable silicone ring and the base of the SURI has a non-stick silicone base and the mortar and grater is dishwasher safe