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Mexican cookingMexican cooking can be done with basic equipment you most likely already have in your kitchen. However, there are a few special pieces you will want to have on hand to really give your Mexican cooking that distinctive Mexican flavor.

Mexican cooking at home doesn't have to an impossible task to accomplish. Try using the following kitchen equipment for the next in-home mexican meal.

Comal: Basically, a comal is a cast iron griddle and is used without oil. It's flat with a handle and is used for making tortillas and roasting foods that require no oil. Mexican comals also can be made of clay.

Molcajete and Tejolote: Mortar and Pestle, these are used for crushing and grinding herbs, spices and seeds. The bowl and grinder are made from porous volcanic rock and are still used today. You can also make traditional Mexican salsa in the Molcajete and Tejolote.

Prensa (Tortilla Press): A tortilla press can be metal or wood, with two hinged plates and a handle. A tortilla press is used to flatten the dough for making tortillas.

Tamale Steamer: Tamale Steamers can be purchased at any Mexican cuisine store or market or you can make one yourself. Using a large enough stock pot to fit a metal colander lined with foil in the bottom, pour about an inch of water in the pot. The foil keeps the tamales from touching the water. Place the tamales in the colander and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Cover the pot tightly with a lid.

Cazuela: a clay pot or bowl still used in Mexico today for boiling corn, stews and beans. Though many Mexican households now use Olla Express (Pressure Cooker) to make beans, they still place the beans in a cazuela for the final few minutes of cooking to give beans that authentic Mexican flavor.

Metate y Mano (Hand Grinder): This tool looks like a short 3 legged table with a concave surface about the size of a platter. A large cylinder of stone is used for grinding spices, herbs and seeds. You can also find larger versions made for sitting at. Metate y Mano is made from stone or lava rock and is still used today in many Mexican households.

Molinillo (Wood Whisk or Stirrer): This ancient tool is used to create foam in hot chocolate. Place between your hands and rotate the whisk back and forth briskly. Molinillos can be plain or highly decorated.

Olla: A bean pot made of clay. Most Ollas are beautifully decorated and glazed. Cooking beans in an olla gives beans a far superior taste than cooking them in metal pans or even a slow cooker. Ollas look beautiful sitting on the counter when not in use and make a great gift. Fill the pot with bags of beans and seasoning and give to your friends or relatives who love authentic Mexican cooking.

Most of the cookware mentioned above can be purchased online, in a specialty Mexican market or store.

Check out our Mexican & Spanish recipe category here

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