Bok, bok, bok!
I love the sound my red wooden mortar and pestle (krog saak) makes as I smash garlic and chiles while breathing in their intoxicating aroma.
In Thailand, many times they call things by the sound they make: which is why the word that describes the krog saak crushing action is “bok bok.”
This little handy tool is like an old school food processor. You can find granite, glazed terracotta, or wooden ones. Thai cooks use it to make chili pastes, smash garlic, toasted rice, chile, papaya, etc.
I love how my steady rhythmic beats transform the ingredients or release their juices. It is a beautiful thing to use the power of your own hands in cooking and is why my krog saak is my favorite kitchen tool.
I was squatting in our kitchen floor going bok bok as I crushed garlic for pad see ew, when Dom walked in and giggled at me.
“Legit!! You are so legit!” he said—one of his new favorite words since I taught him what it meant.
Then he ran to get his camera to take a picture of me doing just what I saw his grandma do in Sukhothai, and my Thai friends do in their kitchens. I’m pregnant by the way, which according to Dom and my friends is supposed to make it even more legit and hardcore that I still can bok bok as a pregnant mama.
If you want to be a legit Thai cook, I suggest going to an Asian market and purchasing your own krog saak so you too can learn the joys of bok bok.