You love Mexican food and when you prepare it, it doesn’t turn out as good as when you eat it at a Mexican restaurant? Well, the secret might lie in the utensils you are using. By getting all or most of the Six essential Mexican cooking utensils mentioned here, you are already setting yourself in the right path to cooking delicious Mexican food.
So let’s begin with the 1st one…..
Tortilla Griddle (comal)
Have you ever seen hand made tortillas puffing up? Part of the secret to making tortillas that puff up is having the correct comal.
Comales are a circular-shaped cooking griddle. Traditionally, they were made out of clay, but they would easily break. Nowadays, for the modern kitchen, you find them mostly made out of stainless steel. They don’t break as easy as a clay comal and are not as heavy as a cast iron griddle.
A comal has mutliple uses. They are mainly used to make tortillas, re-heat tortillas, toast seeds, roast chiles, making quesadillas, and warming up your burritos. The uses are endless and that’s why there’s no Mexican kitchen without a comal!
Tortillero (Tortillas Basket/Warmer)
Tortilleros are normally made out of palm and are circular-shaped. They help keep the tortillas warm. If ever using one, you need to use a table cloth to wrap up the tortillas inside the Tortillero.
A Tortillero is a must at any Mexican table. Normally, we pass the Tortillero around the table so everyone can grab a warm tortilla. You can imagine that whoever takes a tortilla at the end gets to keep the Tortillero on their side. Hence, I always try to be that last person 🙂
In the state of Yucatan, there are some tortilleros made out of wood which have a stone inside that warms up in order to keep the tortillas warm.
There are also other types of tortilleros made out of cloth which are flat, round-shaped with an opening in the middle through which you insert the tortillas. These tortilleros are sometimes covered inside with plastic that helps keep the tortillas warm. I actually prefer these tortilleros because you can place them in the microwave and warm up your tortillas quickly.
Molinillo (Wooden Whisk)
If you want to drink a hot chocolate with lots of foam, then use a Molinillo. The word Molinillo comes from the Nahualt 'Moliani' which means to move or sway. Thanks to its structure formed by several revolving rings, the molinillo will produce a great amount of foam while you shake up your hot chocolate with it.
If ever using a Molinillo, make sure to move the Molinillo in a circular motion between the palms of your hands once the hot chocolate begins to warm up and you see little bubbles on top of the hot chocolate.
One of the secrets to getting a super foamy drinking chocolate is to warm up the drinking chocolate in a small, narrow pot. You wouldn't be able to get lots of foam if using a big pot. It has to be done in small quantities.
I love cooking in a clay pot specially when cooking beans, stews with meats and vegetables because thanks to its porosity, it keeps the right amount of humidity that gives food an incomparable texture, juiciness and texture. If you ever get one, remember to season your clay pot before using it.
Clay pots are not only useful for cooking, but also a nice decoration piece in your kitchen. They are usually hand painted in bright colourful colours.
Since they are made out of clay, they can easily break. Hence, whenever you cook with them, wait until they are cold enough before washing them otherwise they will crack when exposed to cold water.
If you are into making your own corn tortillas then investing in a good tortilla press is a good idea. A taco is only as good as the tortilla and the tortilla is only as good as the ingredients and the tortilla press used.
A tortilla press is usually made out of wood, cast iron or aluminum. Whenever you use it, place two pieces of plastic, one on top and the other one on the bottom of the inner sides of the tortilla press so when you press the tortilla dough, it doesn't stick to the press.
Tortilla presses are either circular or square shaped. Whichever you chose, pick one that will cover the whole surface of the tortilla when pressing down the tortilla press.
A tortilla press can certainly be an invaluable tool in any kitchen. It's multi-purpose meaning that it's not only good for making corn tortillas, but also for pressing out naan, pita and other flatbreads.
Molcajetes are made out of volcanic stone. It's the equivalent to a mortar. It's used to grind ingredients such as seeds, chiles, garlic cloves, etc. and specially to prepare sauces like my Easy Chile Morita Salsa and Simple Salsa Verde. The attachment with which you grind the ingredients is called molcajete hand or tejolote which is the equivalent to a pestle.
Nowadays, molcajetes can be substituted by a food processor or a blender. However, I highly recommend to use a molcajete whenever you can not only because it'll look beautiful in your kitchen, but also because your sauces will taste even better.
Reason for the above is because the molcajete due to its nature, has small holes and every time you grind something in the molcajete, some of the flavours of the ground ingredients will remain in the molcajete so your next preparations will also acquire those flavours.
It's been known that the more you use your molcajete, whatever food you prepare in it will have a better flavour. So don't hesitate to get one!
Ready to get any or all of these basic cooking utensils?
Of course! Let me know how it goes. I always like to hear back from you. If you have other tools which are essential for cooking Mexican food, please let me know in the comments.