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This wooden pestle is a must-have item in a Japanese kitchen. It is made of Kiso cypress wood and is finished with a branding iron. The reason the traditional surikogi (pestle) is made from wood is to avoid excessive wear on the suribachi – the mortar bowl.

Both suribachi and surikogi have origins in Southern China and were introduced to Japan sometime around the 11th century.

While in the beginning, they were used only for preparing medicine and grinding flour, they gradually entered the kitchen space and have remained indispensable to this day. While food processors have taken their spot in the sun, too, many Japanese still prefer the old-school method of grinding their sesame seeds or peanuts with the suribachi and surikogi. That’s because the more traditional method brings out the oils of these foods, enhancing their fragrance.

“The sound of a wooden surikogi grinding against the coarse, ribbed ceramic suribachi evokes images of craftsmen and traditions long lost to history; the nutty aroma of the sesame seeds pulverized between stick and bowl rise to meet your nose and do just as much to ready your appetite as the smell of the meat itself.” – extract from Kakuni


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