Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Mahanandi Selections ~ Grain Mill

I often get asked via comments and email, to recommend cooking utensils and products. I am extremely particular about the products that I buy for my kitchen. I wasn’t sure my taste is your cup of coffee, so I was reluctant all these years. Now, I have decided to take up the challenge. “Mahanandi Selections”, the shopping suggestions series is going to be a new one on Mahanandi and features products that I have at my home or would like to have in my kitchen.

I hope you find this new series interesting and useful.

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Grain Mill (Issurayyi, Tiragali)


Image courtesy: Life in the Holyland

Back home, my family uses stone-made grain mill, similar to the one shown in the photograph to mill grains. This circular shaped stone mill is called “Issurayyi and Tiragali” in my language Telugu. We use it mainly for making flour for sweets like sunnundalu and attarasalu (adhirsam). The flour fineness matters a lot for these traditional sweets. Too fine powder, the sweet will stick to the roof of the mouth. Too coarse, it would be difficult to shape them. The advantage of stone-made grain mill is we can manually control the milled particle size, which in turn helps to make perfect sweets.

The one at my parent’s home is much smaller in size. The circular stones are about the size of big dinner plates and about the thickness of steroid-fed biceps muscle. It’s quite old and my mother keeps it in good condition. I remember turning the stone mill to help my mother.

This is how the stone grain mill works: A jute cloth will be placed on the flour and the stone mill will be placed on the cloth. The mill is essentially made of two circular stones. The lower circular stone stays stationary and the upper stone moves. It has an upright handle on the corner and this is used to turn the stone. The grain will be poured, a handful at a time, through the hole in the center of upper millstone, while the stone is turned continuously. Friction and weight created by the upper stone mills the grain. And the flour will get gradually pushed to the edge and falls out on to the cloth. Depending on the speed at which it is rotated and by the strength applied, the milled grain consistency varies - from fine, to medium to coarse. It may sound complicated but the whole thing operates on simple friction based principle. Looks wise Issurayyi is a real beauty. Operating wise, it’s a great way to keep the upper hands slender.

After moving to US, I was looking for a grain mill that operates in issurayyi style. I found one few years ago at a shop called Tuesday Morning. It’s a Porkert brand grain mill. A different look and feel but operates on the same principle. A big plus is it is very well made and of quality materials. The one I have has both ceramic and metallic burr plates. Ceramic ones are used for grinding oily nuts etc and metallic burr plates are great for grains and lentils like rice, urad dal etc. We have to assemble the parts and fix the machine to a table and operate it manually by rotating the handle. I have been using it to prepare sunnundalu mainly. This sweet is that important to us and cannot be made of flour from a coffee grinder or Sumeet style mixer-grinder.

If you have a traditional preparation requirement, where the milled grain size matters a lot, then go for this type of grain mill. It’s a hard, sweat inducing upper arm workout but the end result is definitely worth the effort. I have to warn you though, these manually operated machines are not magic abracadabra kind of things. A real zeal and know-how is essential for good experience.

Important:

1. You need to make some trials before you could get the required flour fineness. This could be done by adjusting the gap between the millstones, handle turning speed, and by adjusting the quantity of grains through the hopper.

2. This machine looks and works great. But also consumes considerable amount of time and effort to get the required results.


Machine Details

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PORKERT’s Kitchen Grinding Mill ~ A Kitchen Gadget that I Own
Preparing Sunnundalu Sweet at home with PORKERT’s Kitchen Grinding Mill, Type 150

To purchase:

Porkert’s Manual Grain Mill

Different types of Grain Mills from Amazon.com.


Previously on Mahanandi Selections :
Sumeet Mixer Grinder
Aebleskiver Skillet (Ponganalu/Paniyaram/Uniyappam Pan)

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Note: The things that I feature at ‘Mahanandi Selections’ (MS), reflects my own cooking style. You may regard a tool that I deem essential as an expendable thing or vice versa. I have absolutely no interest to convince you otherwise. It is good to be realistic about our own capabilties, limitations and what we can afford.
MS Comment Policy: Brand wars and malicious hearsay with intent to damage a brand reputation - comments of this nature will get scrubbed from comment space.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Kitchen, Indian Utensils, Mahanandi Selections (Friday August 3, 2007 at 1:30 pm- permalink)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

30 comments for Mahanandi Selections ~ Grain Mill »

  1. Dear Indira,

    Of course the new series is useful. Thanks to you, I bought the Ponganala Penam (Aebleskiver Skillet) and we had Ponganalu for breakfast three times in one week :) . Thank you so much for suggestions. They really help a bachelor foodie guy like me.

    One request, Can you please post recipe for Dadhyojanam and Chitti Garelu. These are two of my fav temple foods, and I cant get them any place in San Francisco Bay area.

    Comment by Balu — August 3, 2007 @ 2:05 pm

  2. How fantastic, I’ve read about these but I’ve never had the opportunity to use one. They were used all over the world in ancient times, and in English we refer to the item as a “rotary quern” (although the term may only be familiar to archaeologists and historians).

    Comment by Holly — August 3, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

  3. Indira, I’ve been looking on Amazon ever since I saw your recipe for Sunnivundalu. Thanks for this valuable information. Looks like these are pretty common in Europe.
    Regards, Vani

    Comment by Vani — August 3, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

  4. Thanks for putting together these posts about the “tools”. They are very informative. I’m just starting to learn about Indian Cooking and to a newcomer - all of the tools and spices and ingredients can seem very mysterious! Your site is a wonderful resource. (And I love your photos!)

    Comment by Mary — August 3, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

  5. Hi Indira!
    I never heard abt this mill.Thanks for sharing this info. And seems like this is available at an affordable price too. We call this as “tiragali” in telugu in our region(vizag).

    Comment by Madhavi — August 3, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

  6. Hey Indira,

    That’s a wonderful post. I sure will buy one mill from amazon. Thanks for your suggestions.

    Comment by Shri — August 3, 2007 @ 10:32 pm

  7. A very informative series this would be, Indira. My mother had the traditional stone mill featured in the picture for a very long time. She always liked to break rice for uppuma in that and for me it was like a game to help her rotate it now n then. But ofcourse it became difficult for her to use so she had to give it away reluctantly (it was part of her wedding trousseau, so to say!).

    I have seen the mill that you own quite a lot in Germany with wooden exteriors and stone grind and electric. But still thinking how well I would use it before deciding to buy.

    Comment by Latha — August 3, 2007 @ 11:53 pm

  8. hi indira
    In my house we also use this type stonemill to prepare lot of sweet iteams for festivals,so we know that taste, now days its difficult no body uses this ,i like moongladdu prepare by using this mill when i visit india my mom makes for me by grind the flour by mill its very hard but she try for me give taste i love so much

    Comment by roopa — August 4, 2007 @ 2:58 am

  9. u really rock indra!! the dedication that u put to every article is amazing..and these posts are very useful. I just hope atleast half ur enthusiasm and perfection in things i do :)

    Comment by Kavitha — August 4, 2007 @ 5:39 am

  10. Hey Indira,
    Wonderful and informative post! We call this same as ‘Issurayi’. Back home now its mostly used as part of wedding tradition on pelli kuthuru day to powder pasupu!

    Seeing the pictures of Issurayi..I revisted my wedding album …got me nostalgic!

    Regards,
    Nina

    Comment by Nina — August 4, 2007 @ 10:16 am

  11. Dear Indira,

    Thanks so much for the picture of women using an issurayi. I have always wanted a precise description of how this works. Much appreciated! I recently bought the Porkert grain mill from cooking.com. It was reasonably priced at $69.65, but you have to buy the ceramic plates separately. I believe that what makes the Porkert unique is that it grinds both grains and spices. All of the other grain mills I looked at warned not to grind spices or oily things.

    Thanks again for this great article.

    Comment by shambhavi — August 4, 2007 @ 11:14 am

  12. This is a wonderful series! As other women are to shoe-shopping, buying clothes or other “gotta have” purchases, I am to traditional kitchen implements. My favorite of all favorites is my 30 pound traditional BIG granite mortar & pestle, which I use for everything under the sun.

    I have loved these grinding stones from afar since first catching sight of a picture of one, and would love to have one, but really it probably wouldn’t get much use. Still, they are so beautiful. I have also heard of the Porkert brand grinder. I have to mull over getting a grinder as I’m sure it would take a little practice (I need a grinding mentor - anyone up for it?)
    :)

    Again, I love the series. It’s immensely helpful, and also a nice glimpse into your kitchen.

    Comment by Diane — August 4, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

  13. I was really struck by the black-and-white photo of the grain mill. We had one exactly like it in my family home in India when I was little. And I’m not talking about a small village, long, long ago! I’m in my 30s, and my childhood family home was a large apartment in a crowded “suburb” of India’s financial capital, Mumbai! The ladies of the house, along the domestic help, used the grinding stones for flour. We had another grinding stone for cilantro chutney, and a hand-cranked wet-grinder (like the one in your color photos) for batter for dosai, idli, dhokla, etc. Mumbai in the 1970s was an amazingly environmentally sustainable city — instead of soap (which harms the environment) we used soft ash to wash dishes. The scrubber was a handful of coir. The ash was supplied by our milkman, who burned sun-baked cowpats for fuel. The milkman, incidentally, traversed 5-6 km daily with huge, heavy jerricans of milk fresh from the stable (what better guarantee of freshness than the lack of refrigerated trucks!). Today that grinding stone might seem like a museum piece, but I knew it as part of an organic whole, a living breathing ecosystem which has long since broken down, at least in Mumbai.

    Comment by Uma — August 4, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  14. Hi
    I recently came across your blog when I was searching for a particular recipe. I got really intrigued with the pics and all the wonderful food items meticulously planned and prepared by you. I’ve never tried many Indian recipes in fear of the outcome but now a peek at your blog encourages me to try my hand in many delicacies. Keep up the good work Indira.

    Comment by Niveditha — August 4, 2007 @ 11:33 pm

  15. What a lovely post and an evocative picture Indira! I remember my grandma having a mill like this exclusively for milling Ragi.

    Comment by Mamatha — August 5, 2007 @ 7:53 am

  16. Thanks for posting about this tiragali. Did you have one of those wooden or brass toy kitchen sets, when you were little?

    Comment by padmaja — August 6, 2007 @ 11:19 am

  17. Hi Indira,

    Thanks for such wonderful information about the grinding stones. We call this “tiragali” in my grandmother’s village in Krishna district.

    Swarna.

    Comment by Swarna — August 7, 2007 @ 9:52 am

  18. Years ago we had an almost identical grinder, the only discernible difference being that it was made of aluminum rather than steel.

    I have fond memories of growing up grinding grains with dad for “Sattu”. Used to hate it at times as it seemed old fashioned and a waste of time.

    But looking back, I now regard it as a great alternative to energy intensive devices for guilt-free cooking in an off-grid dream home.

    Comment by Manu Sharma — August 19, 2007 @ 11:36 am

  19. Hello Indira,

    Your article is very informative. I had one question for you regarding Porkert Grinder. I wanted to know whether this grinder grinds for e.g. wheat to a very fine flour and how much does it cost? I checked with Tuesday Morning nearby, but unfornuately they did not have one! I would appreciate your response to my query.

    Thanks for this informative & interesting article & hope to read more on your website.

    Regards
    Rachana

    Hi Rachana: About wheat flour, yes.
    and I purchased it for 10 dollars at a TM clearance sale.
    - Indira

    Comment by Rachana — August 29, 2007 @ 8:17 am

  20. Hello Indira,

    Thanks for responding to my query so quickly and thanks for resolving it too! I’ll try my luck with TM in other location or search for it online.

    Regards

    Rachana

    Comment by Rachana — August 29, 2007 @ 1:54 pm

  21. Anyone know where i can get one of the small round mills described and which is pictured at the top of this page? I live in the UK.

    mark

    Comment by mark haughton — February 24, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  22. Hi Indira,
    I came across your blog couple of months back and I simply love your blog with all the neat details & pics. can you let me know if this grain mill is available in India? I am leaving to India(Chennai) next month and would like to see if I can get it from there.
    Thanks,
    Nirmala

    Comment by Nirmala — March 7, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

  23. Hi Indira,

    I have a question for you. Please tell me if this mill can make biyyam ravva. Is that consistency possible. Your answer will help me buy this. Thanks.

    It is very much possible to prepare biyyam ravva with this machine, Shanti. Actually for the first time we made biyyam ravva for upma last week. Ravva is like what we get in India. Excellent taste and we loved it.
    When you buy the machine, please let me know your experience about the ease of use and the things you have made. Good luck.
    -Indira

    Comment by shanti — June 24, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

  24. Thanks Indira for letting us know about this. My daugther is allergic to Wheat, and most of the other flours like corn I buy from store have been ground in wheat processing facilities. I am hoping that this home mill will work for us. I found the porkert brand on amazon and ordered it.

    Congratulations on your purchase Bindu. If you have any questions about the grain mill, don’t hesitate to mail me or write a comment here.
    Regards,
    Indira

    Comment by Bindu — June 25, 2008 @ 9:58 am

  25. Hi Indira,
    Good to see u after a long time.Your site with its beautiful pictures have inspired me to try my hand at cooking things again.
    I would like to ask u more about the grain mill. Is it possible to grind rice flour to a fine texture? Can it be used for making rasam powders etc? I saw some comments on people making peanut butter. Is this possible? I would like to buy one to make fresh powders based on your suggestion.

    Comment by Ritat — August 22, 2008 @ 7:58 am

  26. I prefer the Country Living Grain Mill I got from GrindWheat.com. It works great on dry grains. I tried almonds in it and they had too much oil for it to grind properly.

    Best Wishes!

    Comment by Faith L. — May 27, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

  27. indira would like to know if it is possible to get one of those old grain mill from india. my greatgrandmother use to grind dry corn and other stuff. i was about six when i saw hers and by the time i got my hands on it my brother destroyed it not knowing the value of it. would like to buy the stone mill , as atribute to my heritage. puerto rico style before traditon dies out.

    Comment by nereida delgado — July 10, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  28. Dear Indira

    Do you know what are the grain mills we currently get in India? We used to have the gharghanti n Gujarat but I find the bulk cumbersome and moreover they are not stone ground. Are there good stone ground mills (couuntertop) that we get in India? I am planning to move back to India and want to purchase a European mill such as fidibus classic to take with me but if we get a good one in India I’d rather just buy it there. Any tips/advice would be great. I like to grind my own wheat flour for chapatis and rice flour too. (I am a South Indian who loves her rotis. I am looking for a wet grinder equivalent for wheat flour that we have for idli/dosa)

    thanks

    Nirmala

    Comment by Nirmala — March 6, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  29. I am looking hand stone grinder for grinding wet food . do you know how do get it or where to get we in south Texas .

    Thank you !

    Comment by Manju — April 14, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

  30. Hi,
    We are manufacturer of grinding wheels/milling stones.

    Really hope we can cooperate and offer you this parts for your grain mill.

    By the way,our milling stones have been put into use for nutrimill grain mill.

    Regards,
    Brian

    Comment by Brian — November 4, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

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