A mortar and pestle is a tool used to crush, grind, and mix solid substances (trituration). The pestle is a heavy bat-shaped object, the end of which is used for crushing and grinding. The mortar is a bowl, typically made of hard wood, marble, clay, or stone. The substance to be ground is placed in the mortar and ground, crushed or mixed with the pestle.
Mortars are also used in cooking to prepare ingredients such as guacamole and pesto (which derives its name from the pestle pounding), as well as grinding spices into powder. Native American tribes used mortars carved into the bedrock to grind acorns and other nuts. Many such depressions can be found in their former territories. In Japan, very large mortars are used with wooden mallets to prepare mochi. A regular sized Japanese mortar and pestle are called a suribachi and surikogi, respectively. Granite mortars and pestles are used in Southeast Asia, as well as Pakistan and India. In India, it's used extensively to make spice mixtures for various delicacies as well as day to day dishes. With the advent of motorized grinders, use of the mortar and pestle has decreaed. It is traditional in various Hindu ceremonies (such as weddings, and upanayanam) to crush turmeric in these mortars. In Malay, it is known as lesung. Traditional Mexican mortar and pestles, made of basalt, are known as molcajetes. Large stone mortars, with long (2–3 feet) wood pestles were used in the Middle East to grind meat for a type of meatloaf, or kibbeh, as well as the hummus variety known as masabcha.