suribachi and surikogi: photo by gourmetsleuth.com
Suribachi and SurikogiThe suribachi is a Japanese mortar used with a pestle called a surikogi. In Japanese cooking the suribachi is used to crush sesame seed as well as for various pastes.
Article by: Barbara Bowman
The Bowl (Suribachi)
The mortar is an earthenware bowl, glazed on the outside. The inside of the bowl has a ridged pattern (kushi-no-me) to facilitate grinding. There are several common interior patterns, the simple circlular pattern shown below, as well as a pattern made up of a series of "commas", and a daisy-wheel design.
The pestle called "surikogi" is made of wood rather than clay and keeps the
pestle from wearing down the ridges in the mortar. The traditional and less
common pestle is made from the Japanese pepper tree (sansho) and the bark is
left on the pestle. It is said that this pestle imparts a slight peppery flavor
to the food it grinds. I think a case could be made to obtain this version
simply for its natural beauty.
photo by gourmetsleuth: sansho
surikogi with rough bark shaft
The Suribachi is originally from Southern China and was introduced to Japan between the eleventh and twelfth century. Prior to this time the common mortar was a stone implement. The tool was first used for preparing medicines, then later used for grinding flour and eventually for food preparation.
The suribachi became an indispensable kitchen tool in the Japanese home. According to Professor Koizumi Kazuko (an authority on Japanese implements and furnishings) the suribachi has played a significant role in history and development of Japanese cuisine.
"The original use of the suribachi may have been to grind miso, and over the years many dishes were developed using the suribachi : goma-yogoshi (vegetables flavored with a sauce of seasoned, ground sesame), goma-miso (miso flavored with ground sesame), dengaku (sweetened miso sauce used to flavor toasted tofu), kinome-ae (dressing made with sansho sprigs), shira-ae (dressing made of tofu mixed with white sesame), tororo-jiru (grated tororo), tsumire (fish paste balls), denbu (shredded seasoned fish flakes) and kinoton (dumplings covered with ground sesame or soybean powder)." Source: (Translation by Nonaka Yuko, forthcoming in a joint English translation of Daidokoro no zukan, by Koizumi Kazuko, original publisher, Heibonsha,1998 )
surikogi (pestle). this is a typical mass-produced pestle.
Place the suribachi on your work top. The bottom of the bowl is unglazed so you may need to protect your worktop by placing a towel beneath the bowl. The actual grinding is a two-handed process. Hold the top of the pestle with one hand and rotate the lower part with the other.