17 Simple Mortar and Pestle Recipes

17 Simple mortar and pestle recipes you need to make! Ready to mash and pound your way to some of the tastiest dishes around? I’ve got a collection that’s just waiting for you to try.

Collage of mortar and pestle recipes for home cooks.

Don’t miss out on my collection of healthy Thai food recipes and easy Thai recipes for the home cook!

Try some of my vegetarian Thai salads, spicy Asian dipping sauces, and aromatic Thai curry pastes. Each one’s super simple to make and has that lovely personal touch you only get at home.

Simple, homemade, and totally you – that’s what these Asian recipes are all about.

Thai woman seated on a bamboo table, working with a granite mortar and pestle.

Ready to get hands-on with flavors you’ve never tasted before? With a mortar and pestle, you’re bringing out the best aromas and tastes you’ve ever experienced.

A hand grinding a mix of fresh spices in a granite mortar and pestle, surrounded by lush green grass.

Forget the food processor for now – we’re going old school for some seriously good yum.

Recipes for mortar and pestle

Thum khao poon, a Lao rice vermicelli salad, served in a white dish.

Thum Khao Poon Recipe (Easy Rice Vermicelli Salad)

Perfect for when you’re craving something quick and flavorful – thum khao poon is a rice vermicelli salad full of spice, zesty lime, and the perfect homemade dressing. It’s spicy, refreshing, and ready in no more than 15 minutes!

Close-up of som tum Thai, a green papaya salad with yard long beans and tomatoes.

Som Tum Thai (Green Papaya Salad)

The classic Thai papaya salad that has everyone addicted from the first taste. Once you try it, you’ll want to make it again and again.

Customize it to your preference with roasted peanuts and crunchy papaya shreds. It’s fresh and spicy, and it comes with a dressing so good you’ll want to drink it.

Hand dipping sticky rice in a bowl of jeow bong, a spicy Lao chili paste made easily in a mortar and pestle.

Jeow Bong Recipe (Lao Chili Paste)

A chili paste that’s the perfect mix of spicy, sweet, and savory. Great with sticky rice or fresh vegetables, this traditional Lao recipe is my go-to for adding a kick of heat to anything.

Som Tam Pla Ra

This papaya salad recipe is a staple in Northeastern Thailand, with fermented fish sauce as the key ingredient. The crunchy yard long beans soak up all that delicious dressing, and the juicy tomatoes provide a nice contrast.

Close-up of Thai long bean salad, som tum tua, with lime peels, shallots, and tomatoes.

Thai Long Bean Salad Recipe (Som Tum Tua)

One of the best mortar and pestle recipes – Thai long bean salad is my favorite way to use yard long beans! It’s crunchy, flavorful, and dressed in a homemade sauce that’s to live for.

Easy, delicious, and just a little bit addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Close-up of nam prik ong, a meaty Thai dip from Northern Thailand.

Authentic Nam Prik Ong Recipe

Try some of the authentic flavors of Northern Thailand. This incredible chili paste is meaty, a bit spicy, savory, and 100% delicious. It’s perfect for dipping or spreading and it kind of resembles a spicy spaghetti sauce, but ten times as good.

Spicy Lao cucumber salad with tomatoes and lime skin, swimming in a dressing.

Spicy Lao Cucumber Salad Recipe (Thum Mak Thang)

Crunchy cucumbers soaked in a spicy, tangy sauce – this salad is refreshing and perfect for summer. It’s the perfect side dish for a hot day or any day you’re in the mood for something quick and delish.

Top-view of Thai basil pesto in a glass cup with fresh basil leaves and cashews.

10-Minute Thai Basil Pesto Recipe

One of my favorite ways to use up Thai basil is by creating a basil pesto. It’s easily made in a food processor, but much more rewarding when whipped up with a mortar and pestle. This pesto is full of flavor and perfect for pastas, sandwiches, or as a dip.

It’s quick, easy, and so good you’ll want to put it on everything.

Jeow som, a spicy Lao dipping sauce, served in a sauce cup with fresh vegetables and grilled meats on the side.

Jeow Som Recipe (Lao Dipping Sauce)

Spicy, tangy, and with just the right kick, this Lao classic is perfect for dipping grilled chicken, fresh vegetables, and spring rolls.

Lao tomato dipping sauce with chilies and cilantro, surrounded by fresh vegetables.

Jeow Mak Len (Lao Tomato Dipping Sauce Recipe)

Try the rich and smoky flavors of this traditional tomato dipping sauce. It’s packed with tomatoes, chilies, and fresh cilantro, it’s the perfect companion for grilled meats and veggies!

It’s so good, you’ll want to dip everything in it.

Close-up of Thai corn salad made with sweetcorn, yard long beans, peanuts, and chilies.

Easy Thai Corn Salad Recipe

A healthy salad that’s as easy to make as it is delicious? Yes please! This dish is all the good stuff into one – sweetcorn, tomatoes, beans, and you can totally switch it up with your favorites.

Wooden spoon lifting a spoonful of green curry paste over a blurred granite mortar and pestle.

Authentic Thai Green Curry Paste Recipe

Make your own Thai green curry from scratch with your stone mortar and pestle! Making a curry paste from scratch is super rewarding, and Thai curries are the perfect kind of comfort food to make at home.

Homemade Thai Chili Paste Recipe (Nam Prik Pao)

Forget store-bought chili paste, now you can make an amazing one right at home. This recipe is all about traditional and authentic. It’s easier than you think and ten times as delicious as the store-bought stuff.

Papaya salad with rice vermicelli and fresh herbs.

Tam Sua (Papaya Salad With Vermicelli)

Try something new with this refreshing and spicy papaya salad with vermicelli noodles. It’s the perfect blend of tradition and flavor, making it the ideal choice for a quick Thai meal.

Nam jim seafood, served next to grilled squid that's garnished with fresh coriander.

Nam Jim Seafood (Spicy Thai Seafood Dipping Sauce)

The best spicy Thai seafood dipping sauce you’ll ever make! Nam jim seafood is zesty, spicy, and just perfect with anything from fish, squid, or whatever you’re planning to throw on the grill.

It’s a super simple mortar and pestle recipe that’s totally delicious!

Top-view of nam prik kapi, a Thai shrimp paste chili dip, surrounded by fresh vegetables.

Nam Prik Kapi (Thai Shrimp Paste Chili Dip)

This is a family recipe that has been treasured for generations. It’s spicy, savory, and unforgettable.

Gather around with the family and enjoy a traditional Thai meal with sticky rice, steamed fish, fresh greens, and your favorite sides.

Homemade Thai red curry paste for a vegetarian mortar and pestle recipe, surrounded by fresh vegetables and spices.

How to Make Thai Red Curry Paste

Last but not least, this vegetarian mortar and pestle recipe is your guide to creating a base that’s bursting with flavor. It’s not just for making authentic Thai red curry, but also suited for spicy red curry stir-fries.


In Thailand, the mortar and pestle is the heart of the kitchen. Wander through any street food market, and you’ll hear that iconic pounding rhythm, the sound of delicious meals being made!

These simple mortar and pestle recipes are all easy beginner-friendly dishes. Have you tried any of these recipes? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

Ready to learn more about the Thai mortar and pestle?

About Author


I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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