The cobek batu

This blog is inspired by a a trip to the Pasar Minggu market in Jakarta where I bought a cobek batu, a traditional mortal and pestle implement made of volcanic rock. I fell in love with Sanif Olek's film Sayang Disayang (2013) that featured the traditional preparation of sambal, a spicy condiment of chillies, heavily using a cobek batu.

There is something meditative about preparing food the traditional way. When grinding spices into a paste, you crush the spices using an ulukan, a blunt club-shaped pestle, that allows you greater control resulting to a better texture compared to electric blender or food processor. The grinding motion also allows spices to release their natural oils enhancing the flavors of food. You can smell different aromas melding into one when you prepare your spices in a cobek.

Now that I have one of my own, my culinary adventures in discovering the flavors of home and the Southeast Asian region begin.

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