The mortar (the bowl) and the pestle (the rounded club shaped part that you hold) have been used for ever and a day to crush and grind cooking ingredients.
It can be used to grind dry ingredients to a fine powder or equally to give them a coarser texture. I use it for wet ingredients when a wet power blender would make the paste too smooth.
My two tips are:
- avoid the temptation to get a small one as spices like peppercorns and coriander seed will make a break for it as soon as you start grinding 🙂
- don’t spend too much on them, they all do the same thing regardless of the price tag
- see more equipment posts here