Going back to the grind

A mortar and pestle arms home cooks with the ability to smash together their own delicious curry pastes

If you want to fix a Thai meal in a hurry, buy some ready-made curry or seasoning paste. You will be able to whip something up in no time. But if you want the food to really be delicious, you will have to pound the paste yourself. It takes more time, but it is time well spent.

crushing: Pounding your own curry paste isn't hard, and you can start doing it now. Photos: Suthon Sukphisit

Before setting out to do the pounding, however, it is a good idea to consider the mortar and pestle that are at the heart of this culinary art, paying special attention to the stone ones that are now considered to be standard equipment for the kitchen. They are easy to find, inexpensive and available in a wide range of shapes and sizes.

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