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Pumpkin Lover

Mortar and Pestle vs. Spice Grinders

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I just got Suvir's new cookbook, and he suggests, for a lot of the recipes, to toast and grind spices before using them. Could I achieve the same results, however, if I pounded the spices in a mortar and pestle? I wouldn't get as find a grind, obviously, but would the results make much of a difference in the final result?

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I just got Suvir's new cookbook, and he suggests, for a lot of the recipes, to toast and grind spices before using them. Could I achieve the same results, however, if I pounded the spices in a mortar and pestle? I wouldn't get as find a grind, obviously, but would the results make much of a difference in the final result?

I think not...

That's how they would have done it in the "good old days"

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I think you should ask Suvir this question if possible mention the recipes that you're interested in and ask the taste variations that occur and may be who knows you might not find the difference between ground or not ground ones.

I really think it is upto the author to state his intiatives in total so that any variations like using a method of coarser grid or in this case a different method of grinding would likely to cause some changes in the after taste.

May be some one here too could tell you if they are experienced in cooking a dish for you.

Hope this all leads to a useful and successful rendition of a skilful Masters recipes

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Pumpkin Lover

I use a coffee grinder for my masalas but I have another secret....What I do is toast spices, cool them and then put the spices in a pepper mill. Voilà! Freshly ground spices and since the quantities are small they remain "fresh". I've got around 10 pepper mills with spice mixes...

Bague

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I just got Suvir's new cookbook, and he suggests, for a lot of the recipes, to toast and grind spices before using them. Could I achieve the same results, however, if I pounded the spices in a mortar and pestle? I wouldn't get as find a grind, obviously, but would the results make much of a difference in the final result?

When you use a mortar and pestle the grind would be coarse, and in certain dishes that have smooth texture, the appearance may not be perfect, but the taste, I guess, shouldn't make a big difference.

As bague 25, wrote, I also use coffee grinders for powdering toasted spices. For small quantities it works great.

Ammini


Ammini Ramachandran

www.Peppertrail.com

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When you use a mortar and pestle the grind would be coarse, and in certain dishes that have smooth texture, the appearance may not be perfect, but the taste, I guess, shouldn't make a big difference.

Sometimes texture affects taste. I learnt this the hard way

when I wound up with a coarsely ground nut paste and tried

to make korma. Just didn't work.

sure our ancestresses did it with granite grinding stones,

mortar and pestle etc. but HOW laborious!!

i don't think a regular mortar and pestle work in many

cases you really need that granite thingummy....

As bague 25, wrote, I also use coffee grinders for powdering toasted spices. For small quantities it works great.

I second that. I've not found a regular food processor

(even that cuisinart thing where the blades go both ways) that

does the job. either get one of those sumeet machines that work

anywhere, or a coffee mill.

milagai

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It's all good.

I have a small mortar and pestle (a treasured christmas gift) which I use for most things. I have a coffee whizzer thingie that I use for some spices and/or mixes, because I find that things like cinnamon or methi seeds are difficult to grind adequately in my little mortar. And I like pepper grinders for suitably-sized spices, like coriander (though I guess I could use my mortar to bust up larger spices, like allspice, so that they'd fit the pepper grinder...never thought of that before).

Use what you've got, is my advice, and if you find yourself longing for one of the others, go buy it. They're all cheap and plentiful; so there's no reason to not have it if you think you'd use it.


"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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Thank you guys for all the advice. Right now, I have a small granite mortar and pestle which is smooth in the inside bowl area: it's heavy, it's powerful, and I think for now I won't be doing fancy stuff, so it should be good. Thanks, thanks :biggrin:


Edited by Pumpkin Lover (log)

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Love my coffee grinder and food processor, but prefer mortar and pestle for one thing: fresh coconut for coconut chutney.

Mind, I'll still go with the food processor if pressed for time, but if not, mortar and pestle work better because they squish the coconut and make it surrender its juices, whereas the processor just makes small granules.

It's quite an arm workout too.

Pat


"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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my 2 cents

I have a mortar and pestle as well as a Sumeet kitchen thingy.

The Sumeet is great for dry spices, and is a godsend for wet pastes (especially thai... grinding lemongrass by hand is torturous) as well as coconut etc.. It works best for larger quantities.

For smaller quantities of dried spices I still use the mortar and pestle as it is so much handier and easier to clean. I also enjoy the workout. I bought it at a Thai grocery years ago.

If I didn`t have the Sumeet I would probably get a coffee grinder as my mum uses one and has no complaints. I agree with the Bague25 as to toasting the spices, whatever your method it makes grinding easier, although the flavour obviously changes a bit.

If you really want perfection, David Thompson`s `Thai Food` suggests grinding the spices, sifting them through a fine sieve, and then re-grinding the larger bits.

:)

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