If you are not familiar with a Molcajete and Tejolote, it is a Mexican mortar and pestle made from volcanic rock used to grind ingredients such as garlic, tomatoes and spices.  They remind me of the Native American grinding stones found in large rocks.  My sister Kat gave me a molcajete on our recent visit to NM and I’ve been anxious to try it out.  If you have a new molcajete it should be seasoned just as you would a new cast iron skillet.   There are many online sites that give instructions on how to season a molcajete which would be easier and probably more helpful I could explain.   I’m looking forward to all the spices I can now grind as well as making guacamole and endless salsa’s.  This salsa includes roasted tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onion, green chile, lime, and cilantro.   It was very aromatic as I started grinding the garlic and tomatoes.  Each added ingredient changed the texture and added another element of flavor. 

For this salsa I chose tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and some green chile (which I forgot to include in the photo).

I charred them over an open flame of a gas grill.  Turn them often to char on all sides.  You can also roast them in the oven under the broiler setting.

The tomatoes charred quickly so I took them off the heat while I continue to char the tomatillos, garlic and onions.

The molcajete is ready to go.  I cored the tomatoes and tomatillos but did not peel them. I found that the onion was tough to grind and needed to be chopped up a bit

Start by sqeezing some lime juice into the molcajete.  I saw this on Youtube and it made sense to get some moisture on the bottom before grinding.

I’m going to start with the garlic first.

The garlic is soft from being roasted out on the grill and grinds easily into a paste.

Next comes half the onion and one tomato.  I found that the onion would not grind easily, the skin was too tough so I chopped it into smaller pieces which made it a little easier to work with.  The tomatoes were soft and I had to go slow so as not to squirt tomato juice.

I added one of the tomatillos and gently began grinding.  As you can see the bowl is full and I’ve only used half my ingredients.  When I had the consistency I wanted, I transferred it to another bowl while I set upon grinding the rest of my salsa

I added 1 large Hatch green chile and continued the process of grinding and mixing.

I added approximately 2 tablespoons of cilantro and salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon).

The consistency depends on how much you grind the ingredients.  The onion seemed to be my biggest challenge and I think next time I would chop it into smaller pieces before adding.  Other than the fresh salsa aroma, we detected an earthy smell that emitted from the molcajete.

You learn to dip quick or miss out as I found.  The salsa was gone in no time!

Molcajete Green Chile Salsa

2 medium Tomatoes
2 medium Tomatillos
1 Hatch Green Chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 Onion
2 cloves Garlic
Juice of 1/2 Lime
2 tablespoons Cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Salt, or to taste

Roast the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion and garlic (and chile if not previously roasted) over the open flame of a gas grill. Alternative methods include roasting either in an ungreased skillet over moderate heat, or they can be placed under a broiler until soft and slightly blackened.  Turn often and remove from heat when all sides have been charred.

Squeeze juice of 1/2 lime into a Molcajete (Mexican mortar and pestle).  Use the Tejolote to grind the garlic into a paste.  Continue to add and grind the onion, tomatoes, tomatillos, cilantro and salt to the desired consistency.  Note** If your Molcajete is too shallow to hold all of your salsa, grind in batches.