Perhaps you have eaten Mexican food in a top quality Mexican restaurant or even in a Mexican home. If you have, maybe some authentic Mexican cookware or utensils were used to make the dishes. Mexicans use a range of different cooking methods, including baking, slow roasting and deep-frying and they have unique pots and pans for these methods. Mexicans like to use plenty of fresh produce in their cuisine, including spices and herbs, so you will find sharp knives and a mortar and pestle in any Mexican kitchen.
Some Common Mexican Cooking Pots
Ollas, also known as Barros, are deep clay cooking pots. They are perfect for simmering beans, stew or soup and clay is a great medium for cookware because it distributes the heat evenly to avoid burnt spots. Barro means clay or mud and olla means pot. These cooking pots are fine to put over a direct flame all day long.
Clay can be sensitive to temperature changes so you need to warm it gently before using it to prevent it from cracking. One excellent reason for cooking in clay pots is that it gives the food a slightly earthy flavor.
Comals are used in Mexican cookery and these are big, round griddles made from cast iron, clay, or aluminum. Modern ones normally have a non-stick finish and they are used to roast chilies and warm tortillas.
A cazuela is used for simmering mole and other sauces. This is a large, round clay dish, which is between five and seven inches deep. The outside might be painted in bright colors and the inside is glazed. A cazuela has handles so you can put it over an open fire.
A tortillero is a Mexican tortilla press with two wooden discs or round plates. You put a ball of masa between the plates and press down to make a tortilla. These machines used to be wooden but are normally cast iron now. You can get cheap aluminum ones too but these break easily.
Popular Mexican Cooking Utensils
You will find a metate y mano in most Mexican kitchens. This concave dish is the size of a platter and made of stone or rock. It will have three short legs and sit on the table or three long legs so you can sit up to it on a chair. There is a big, round stone, which you roll on the surface to mix together or grind the ingredients.
A molcajete y tejolote is a mortar and pestle, which consists of a small stone, clay, or wooden bowl with an elongated cylinder or the same material, rounded on both ends. The end of the cylinder is used in a circular motion to grind the item in the bowl, to pulverize it.
The Mexicans love hot chocolate and they use a wooden whisk called a molinillo to make the top frothy. The molinillo is spun between the hands and some are plain but others are highly decorated. The molinillo is a small yet fascinating part of Mexican food culture. You can make Mexican food without having the equipment but using it can be fun and it looks good displayed in the kitchen.