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17 Best Mortar and Pestle Recipes

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Here are the best mortar and pestle recipes you need to make! Ready to mash and pound your way to some of the tastiest dishes around? This collection of Thai and Lao food is just waiting for you to try.

Collage of mortar and pestle recipes for home cooks.

This Thai food blog is filled with healthy Thai food recipes and easy Thai recipes that are perfect for every home cook. What you’ll love most about these recipes using mortar and pestle is how quick and simple to make they are.

In this collection, you’ll find some of my best vegetarian Thai salads, spicy Thai dipping sauces, and aromatic Thai curry pastes. Each one’s fun 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.

Now, let’s put the food processor away and keep it simple for some really delicious dishes.

And if you’d like some extra tips and tricks, don’t forget to read my full article on the Thai mortar and pestle.

Recipes for mortar and pestle

Thum khao poon rice vermicelli salad served on a white plate with tomatoes, yard long beans, and a lime wedge, on a traditional Lao textile background.
Thum Khao Poon Recipe (Easy Rice Vermicelli Salad)
This Lao salad is perfect for a quick and flavorful meal. It's a rice vermicelli salad with spicy flavors, fresh lime juice, and a delicious dressing. Spicy, refreshing, and ready in no more than 15 minutes!
Check out this recipe
Som tum Thai, green papaya salad, with peanuts and tomatoes.
Som Tum Thai Recipe (Green Papaya Salad)
Som tum Thai is a classic Thai green papaya salad with roasted peanuts and fresh flavors. It's the perfect recipe for those who have a clay mortar and pestle and want to try making something truly Thai at home. It's easy to mix up and so delicious!
Check out this recipe
Close-up of nam prik ong, a Thai pork and tomato dipping sauce.
Authentic Nam Prik Ong Recipe
Try some of the authentic flavors of Northern Thailand. This incredible ground pork chili and tomato paste is meaty, a bit spicy, and savory. It's perfect for dipping or spreading and can easily be customized to your taste.
Check out this recipe
Thai long bean salad, known as som tum tua, with yardlong beans, lime, and ripe tomatoes on a bamboo basket.
Thai Long Bean Salad Recipe (Som Tum Tua)
This bean salad is one of my favorite mortar and pestle recipes. I like pairing it with some Thai chicken wings, Thai sticky rice, and a refreshing drink like Thai tea to counter the spicy flavors.
Check out this recipe
Spicy Lao cucumber salad in a dish with tomatoes and sticky rice on the side.
Spicy Lao Cucumber Salad Recipe (Thum Mak Thang)
This salad is full of crunchy cucumbers dressed in a spicy and tangy sauce. It's refreshing and perfect for summer, making it the perfect light dish for a warm summer's day when you're in the mood for something quick and tasty.
Check out this recipe
Top-down view of Thai basil pesto in a glass cup on a wooden cutting board. Scattered around it are roasted cashews, a lime wedge, salt, Thai basil, and a small wooden mortar and pestle.
10-Minute Thai Basil Pesto Recipe
I love making basil pesto with Thai basil. It's simple to make in a food processor, but using a mortar and pestle is even better. This pesto is really tasty and great on pasta, sandwiches, or as a dip. It's fast, easy, and so yummy you'll want to use it on all your food.
Check out this recipe
Lao jeow som dipping sauce in a bowl surrounded by sticky rice, grilled meat, and fresh vegetables.
Jeow Som Recipe (Lao Dipping Sauce)
Jeow som is a spicy and tangy Lao dip that's perfect for grilled chicken and fresh vegetables. It has the perfect amount of spice and tang to complete your meal. It's a great addition to bring to your table to add a bit of Lao flavor to your meat.
Check out this recipe
Detailed close-up of jeow mak len, showcasing its rich colors, and fresh ingredients, with grilled meat and vegetables around it.
Jeow Mak Len (Lao Tomato Dipping Sauce Recipe)
Jeow mak len is an amazing tomato dip with chilies and cilantro. It's perfect for grilled foods and really tasty – you'll want to dip everything in it!
Check out this recipe
Thai corn salad made with sweetcorn, yard-long beans, tomatoes, red chilies, and carrots, served in a clay dish on a banana leaf.
Easy Thai Corn Salad Recipe
Thai corn salad is a yummy, easy-to-make healthy dish. It's got all the good stuff – sweet corn, tomatoes, beans, and you can even add your favorite ingredients to mix it up and make it yours.
Check out this recipe
Thai green curry paste in wooden spoon over granite mortar.
Authentic Thai Green Curry Paste Recipe
Create your own Thai green curry paste using a stone mortar and pestle! Crafting the curry paste yourself is so rewarding, and my collection of Thai curry recipes is just perfect for making from scratch.
Check out this recipe
Thai chili paste, nam prik pao, in a clay cup with spices scattered around.
Thai Chili Paste Recipe (Nam Prik Pao)
Skip the store-bought chili paste and make nam prik pao at home. This recipe for Thai chili paste is traditional and authentic. It's easier than you might think and way more delicious than anything you can buy.
Check out this recipe
Tam sua, Thai papaya salad, with vermicelli noodles, chilies, and lime.
Tam Sua (Papaya Salad With Vermicelli)
Tam sua is a refreshing combination of spicy papaya salad and soft vermicelli noodles. It's a perfect mix of traditional flavors and makes for a great quick Thai meal.
Check out this recipe
Nam jim seafood sauce, served with grilled squid.
Nam Jim Seafood Recipe (Thai Seafood Dipping Sauce)
Make the best spicy Thai seafood dipping sauce ever! Nam jim seafood is tangy, spicy, and awesome with grilled fish, squid, or any seafood. It's an easy mortar and pestle recipe that's perfect for beginners.
Check out this recipe
Close-up of nam prik kapi in a sauce cup. Fresh vegetables, chilies, egg, and mackerel are surrounding the chili dip.
Nam Prik Kapi Recipe (Thai Shrimp Paste Dipping Sauce)
This is a special family recipe that's been loved for generations. It's a bit spicy and very tasty. Enjoy a real Thai meal with sticky rice, fish, fresh veggies, and whatever else you like, all with the amazing flavor of nam prik kapi, a Thai shrimp paste chili dip.
Check out this recipe
A clay cup with Thai red curry paste surrounded by herbs and spices.
How to Make Thai Red Curry Paste
Make your Thai red curry paste at home for authentic taste. It's spicy and rich and can be added to curries and stir-fries.
Check out this recipe
Close-up of nam prik noom, a Northern Thai roasted chili dip, in a glass cup. Above and underneath the dip are parts of fresh vegetables and pork crackling.
Nam Prik Noom Recipe (Thai Roasted Chili Dip)
This nam prik noom recipe is a tasty vegan Thai dip made from roasted green chilies, garlic, shallots, and just a touch of salt. It's fun to make and creates a dip that's great with just about everything.
Check out this recipe
Close-up of tom yum paste in a clay bowl.
Tom Yum Paste Recipe
Tom yum paste is my most popular recipe, and it's a game-changer in the kitchen, bringing the classic spicy and sour flavors of Thailand right to your dinner table. This paste is a key ingredient in soups like tom yum talay and stir-fries like tom yum fried rice.
Check out this recipe

More recipe roundups to read


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!

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

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