On our way to Arpico in Battaramulla for our weekly grocery shopping, we stopped off at a shop. This shop is about 100 feet east of Arpico on the opposite side of the road in the even that anyone’s looking for it. 😀
We stopped because, the last time we were there, I saw that they had stone mortar and pestles, something which I had been trying to find, to no avail, for a couple or four years.
Odels has the smooth marble ones, but five years ago, they were priced at around Rs.2500 (~$25US), which I thought was severely overpriced. Wooden ones are easy enough to find here, but whatever’s being crushed leaves a smell and taste behind. Wooden mortar and pestles that are used to crush both garlic cloves and nutmeg? Yeah, no. 😀
I wanted stone of some kind. Easier to keep clean and free from odors and tastes and residue. 😀
In this picture, starting from the bottom right corner, there’s an orange plastic rectangular basin. To its immediate left, there are aluminum baking trays. To their left is a cast iron griddle in front of aluminum griddles. These griddles are used here to cook rotis and the like. I’d been wanting one (along with a cast iron Dutch oven, pots, and pans…) for a long time but haven’t seen them here before, and asking around just got me strange looks.
I was leaning out of the trishaw – Fahim had gone in to buy the mortar & pestle – and looked at the griddle. Looked again and thought, hey, that looks like cast iron. Cast iron???? So I jumped out of the trishaw and picked it up – heavy like cast iron and the right look and texture. I go into the shop and ask Fahim to ask what this is made of. Sure enough, the guy responds with cast iron. In Sinhala, of course. 🙂
Anyway. To their immediate left are a couple of mortar and pestles, but these are wooden on the outside and lined on the inside with aluminum. I don’t want aluminum.
Above and behind the wood/aluminum mortar & pestles & griddles are flat rectanguar slabs of rock that are smaller on the bottom than on the top. Those are grinding stones. Fahim’s mom uses them for grinding up coconut and spices for sambols. We have one cemented into a platform at the back of the house, but I can’t use it because of my back.
Above those slabs is one aluminum/wood mortar & pestle and one stone pestle. The pestle I walked away with. 😀
To the left of the slabs of stone is a bench coconut scraper. I’ve got a better picture coming up. 🙂 To the right of the stone slabs is an even larger pestle. I thought it would be overkill for me and my small kitchen.
In this picture we have the other side of the entrance with various aluminum pots & bowls, coconut spoons, and so on. Ooooh, exciting. I know. 😀
Here we have an electric coconut scraper in the first image. I saw one similar to this at Arpico a month or so back for over Rs.7,000 (~$70US). Overkill for us for sure.
In the second image is a bench coconut scraper. Not a great shot. I’ll have to get a better picture. It’s a bench about four inches off the ground, long enough to sit on it straddled. The coconut scraper part is wrapped in the plastic at the top, or front end.
Then check out the third picture, which is another coconut scraper, but this one is attached to a C-clamp, so it can be fastened to a counter- or table-top temporarily. This is the coconut scraper I use, and with it, I can scrape a whole coconut in about a minute, perhaps a shade less.
And here are the requisite close-ups of the mortar & pestle (~Rs.900 or ~$9US) and cast iron griddle (~Rs.300 or ~$3US) I got. The mortar & pestle is still rough and will take time and use to smooth down. It’s what’s available, so I go with it. 🙂 The griddle is about 10″ in diameter, the biggest they had. I’ve started the seasoning process on it already…