Mahanandi

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

Tuning into Mandoline

My Mandoline
My 8-year old Mandoline

I tune into the radio when I am in the kitchen. The relaxing talk and tunes from radio help to make the routine job of cutting and cleaning go easy.

Just like music, mandoline is a nice thing to have in a kitchen. It makes it a breeze to prepare vegetables for salads, curries and raitas. And also for chips and bajjis. The replaceable inserts that come with mandoline are extremely useful for different styles of fine and uniform chopping. I use mandoline regularly to cut vegetables like carrots, potatoes, karela and cabbage. Also beetroot, cucumber, plantain and radish. Time saved on cabbage cutting alone makes the mandoline a must have in the kitchen, if you ask me.

Cooking can be a satisfying and enjoyable activity when we have right tools and happy vegetables. For me, a sharp mandoline with its quick and clean cutting blades is the right tool that will make chopping vegetables a happy job.

How about you? Are you a fan of Mandoline? Here are some mandoline tunes from Amazon.com (plastic and stainless steel).



Tools and Utensils from My Kitchen:

Grain Mill (Tiragali)
Sumeet Mixer and Grinder
Skillet to Preapre Pancake Puffs and Ponganalu

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Utensils, Mahanandi Selections (Sunday May 25, 2008 at 8:31 pm- permalink)
Comments (19)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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

*****************

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)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Mahanandi Selections: Sumeet Mixer

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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SUMEET MIXER GRINDER

Sumeet homepage: Sumeet.net
(I own a Sumeet and I’ve been using it for almost six years. Great Machine!)

Product Features: The Multipurpose Asia Grinder was created specifically to tackle the tough DRY & WET grinding tasks required in the diverse cuisines of India. Yet it is equally at home where grinding is vital to the cuisines from other parts of the world, (Mexican Moles, Thai Green Curry, Harissa, etc). The Asia Grinder effectively grinds Dry or Wet ingredients into fine powder or a smooth thick paste, from as little as 50 grams to as much as 400 Grams in less than 2 minutes. Soaked Lentils, Rice, Coconuts, Chilies, Herbs, Ginger, Garlic to name a few, can be ground without adding a drop of water. A feat only possible using Stone & Pestle. It comes with 4 Interchangeable blades for various tasks such as Blending, Whipping, Mincing, Grating etc. The Small Quantity Grinder Jar is ideal for small amounts of dry and wet grinding, be it fresh coffee powder or quick chutney.

Heavy Duty Indian Mixer/Grinder has Safety Lock System, 110 Volt. 3 Stainless Steel Jars with a “Double Wall Stainless Steel” construction, a redesigned integrated blade and lids with a more user friendly snap-in locking system.

Product Reviews:

From Amazon: “It can take a kitchen aid for breakfast and black dekker for lunch and still have appetite for a couple of sun beams.”

From Food Bloggers: Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries often mentions Sumeet in her well detailed recipe instructions. Her review:

“I am very fond of and use my Sumeet Multi-Grind all the time. It is a really fine piece of equipment that will grind up any wet or dry ingredient that you would have into a very smooth paste (or powder if all the ingredients are dry), including rock hard galangal and chunks of cinnamon stick, without fail. The parts of the machine that come into contact with the food are all dishwasher safe, so they are simple to clean. I have had it for nearly eight years and have used it at least four times a week, and it has never choked, failed me or even considered not running.”

Price Details:
Ships and Sold via Amazon.com
Sale Price: $169.00 ($174.99)

For news and new product information, here is the Sumeet homepage: Sumeet.net

Last week on Mahanandi Selections :
Aebleskiver Skillet (Ponganalu/Paniyaram/Uniyappam Pan)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mahanandi Selections (Friday July 27, 2007 at 3:34 am- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Mahanandi Selections : Aebleskiver Skillet

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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Lodge Pro-Logic Cast-Iron Aebleskiver Pan

(Ponganalu/Paniyaram/Uniyappam Pan)

Product Features: Cast-iron aebleskiver pan with 7 slots for creating Ponganalu, Paniyaram and Pancake puffs. Preseasoned with vegetable oil formula and ready for immediate use. Cast-iron surface heats slowly and evenly to prevent burning. Nonstick, rustproof finish. Cleans easily; hand wash only. Includes long handle and opposite helper handle. The impressions are 3 1/4″ in diameter and 1″ deep.
Product Reviews: Click Here.

Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Sale Price: $19.99 (Reduced from 31.99).
Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.

Traditional Recipe Ideas with Cast-iron pan:

Ponganalu ~ From Andhra Pradesh, India
Spinach Ponganalu with Sarapappu ~ From Andhra Pradesh, India
Kuzhi Paniyaram ~ From Tamilnadu, India
Ravva Unniyappam (Sooji Pancake Puffs) ~ From Kerala, India
Sweet Unniyappam ~ From Kerala, India
Deep Fried Unniyappam ~ From Kerala, India
Danish Pancake Puffs with Mango Sauce
Danish Doughnuts

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mahanandi Selections (Friday July 20, 2007 at 7:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Spice up the Weekend with “Supreme Spice”

When Anjali of Supreme Spice, an online home-based business owner, contacted me last month about advertising opportunities at Mahanandi, I was little bit hesitant. But I thought it over and said “yes”. Why not? People who start home-based businesses are like bloggers, I think. We know that there is a chance that nobody would ever read our blog. Similarly, the common concern for small home-based business is to get the word out into the market that is fiercely occupied by behemoth corporations. Still we write blogs and start businesses. Mahanandi is all about celebrating food related passion. So here it is Mahanandi’s first ad.

Anjali in her own words about “Supreme Spice” :

 click here to visit Supreme Spice

“I am from Bombay, came to US 12 yrs back. Used to work as a Oracle programmer. After my kids, I quit my job and was enjoying my new role as a mom/homemaker. Then when my daughter was about 3 yrs old, I started introducing her to our regular Indian food with little spice in it. She used to like the taste but hated it when she bit into a small ginger piece or the cumin seeds. Actually she started refusing any food that showed any sign of mustard seeds or cumin seeds in it. So I started looking for ideas to slip these spices in her food. And during one of my trips to India I learned about spice extracts. Talked with manufacturer and I started working on it as a business idea. Started with few extracts first, tested them with my friends. Loved them. It became very easy for me to slip spices like ginger and garlic in my daughter’s food. I could see that my daughter was getting less cold and cough because I had increased her garlic intake without her knowing it.

I started my business just about a year back with just a few spice extracts. I first started with Tea masala (blend of 6 spices), Ginger, Cardamom and a few more. I got very good response from people because using extracts was easier, eliminated the need to chop and peel and gave the full flavor and fragrance of the spice. Also, extracts makes it easy to customize food for everyone. For example: Make one pot of regular Indian chai and then customize every cup to make Masala Tea, Ginger tea or Cardamom tea. I slowly expanded and now carry about 15 different spice extracts. All pure and premium quality spice extracts.

This business has become my passion now. I import them from India and market them under my own brand name. I did everything from designing the boxes, labels, website, marketing, etc. I very firmly believe that it’s important to incorporate spices in daily cooking. But even when whole spices are not available, you will always have spice extracts for your cooking.:)

Please visit my site www.SupremeSpice.com to see the full range of spice extracts that we carry. Thanks!”

click here to visit Supreme Spice

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Mahanandi Selections (Saturday January 6, 2007 at 10:24 am- permalink)
Comments (5)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend This & That ~ About “Mahanandi Selections”

I have been thinking of finding someways to support and pay for the expenses of my blog hosting lately. The cost of hosting is also increasing with the traffic that I get to this site. Opening a storefront using Amazon.com seemed like a reasonable opportunity to go with, without cluttering my blog space with generic google ads. Hence I started “Mahanandi Selections”.

Amazon.com would pay me a small commission for each purchase made through this store. If you have an account with Amazon and buying from there, I would like to ask you to go through my store to support Mahanandi. I’d only show limited selection (nine, 54 items) on my storefront, but you can also purchase anything available at Amazon.com through “Mahanandi Selections” either by using search button or sub categories.

I greatly appreciate your support. Thanks!


My Amazon Store

Mahanandi Selections: My Amazon E Store. If you have an account already at Amazon, search and shop through this site to support Mahanandi. Thank you!
Search, Shop and Support: Mahanandi Selections

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Mahanandi Selections (Saturday October 21, 2006 at 5:08 pm- permalink)
Comments (20)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org