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.


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.


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

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


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)
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