In Singapore though, where every dish is packed with fresh spice, a mortar is obligatory for a well equipped kitchen.
Using a mortar is simple. First roast your spices in a dry skillet, then place a scant two teaspoons into the base. Use the pestle to crack the seeds with a light pounding motion. Do not over-fill the base as you want to use the stone surface to grind the spice. Too much filling will rub the mixture against itself and undermine the effectiveness of the tool.
Using a rotating motion, ground the cracked spice into a powder. In less than thirty seconds, the seeds will become a powder and the aroma of dry roasted spices will tantalize you with the dishes to come.