Monday, August 13, 2007

S is for SHIL-NORA

Originally uploaded by dalbhat
This is the grinding stone used in most Bengali kitchens, to make masalas like posto (poppy) paste and mustard sauce for fish dishes!

It weighs a ton though I have imagined carrying it abroad with me more than once.

On Sundays, our complex opens its doors to the many vendors who come around singing out their various ads. One of them is the stone grinder, who chisels designs like fish motifs into the pointy end of the stone so that it can once again give optimum performance.

Indrani Sen wrote a paragraph in the Guardian Observer (11/19/06) that best seems to capture how the shil-nora makes its presence in the kitchen:

Kneeling beside Rani-di as the morning sun warmed the patio, I learned how to use the shil nora to grind the essential pastes of Bengali cooking - onion, ginger, dried red chilli, garlic, cumin and coriander. She showed me how to roll the mortar back and forth on the pocked stone slab, pausing to reposition the paste with wet fingertips.



Blogger Sita said...

We ,in Tamilnadu call it the Ammi-kal.I really miss it when there is a current cut and something has to be ground.Your blog is very interesting I like to Know more of your embroidery group and the Mustardseed Library.Regards and best wishes

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Starman said...

Do you know where you can buy a shil nora in London? I wonder if the Bangladeshi quarters of Brick Lane will sell these?

1:49 PM  
Blogger tik-tiki said...

I would guess that would be a good place to start looking -- or ask around at any sort of Indian food shop. They are soooo heavy.

6:05 PM  

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