Have you ever wondered how to make silky smooth curry sauces like at an Indian restaurant, or how to smoothly blend up tough ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal, nuts, and whole spices for a Thai curry paste? Most home blenders and food processors you can buy in the West do a terrible job at smoothly blending these hard ingredients.
When travelling in India we bought a South Indian cookbook and were amazed at how lightly they spoke of blending / grinding ingredients. “Toast some whole cinnamon, cloves and uncooked urid dal. Then grind it to a smooth paste along with some fresh coconut, onions, ginger and nuts”. I knew that this would be near impossible with any equipment that we already owned. Dosa batter, made from soaked whole rice and urid dal is another thing that is notoriously hard to blend.
I eventually discovered that there are special Indian-made mixers and grinders that are specifically designed to blend all of these tough ingredients. Some Googling eventually led me to the Sumeet Mixer Grinder or “Mixie” which has been a favourite in India since the 1970s. The Sumeet has an incredibly powerful 500 watt motor that can apparently run for 30 minutes straight. It comes with three different sized blending jars and two kinds of blades. The different sized jars is incredibly important as it allows you to blend anything from small dry spice masalas in the smallest jar to large amounts of dosa batter in the large jar. The little jar works as a spice grinder so there is no need to have a separate spice grinder – and it blends them as smooth as a curry powder you buy at a store! The grinding blade is different from most blenders in that it is blunt edged and one of the blades sits almost parallel with the bottom of the jar to ensure that everything is blended smoothly and that stuff can’t get caught underneath the blade.
Although readily available in India and Asian countries, these grinders (along with any other brands) seemed very hard to find in Australia. I eventually discovered a couple of stores that stocked them but none of them offered any sort of warranty. Finally I found India at Home, 897 Canterbury Road, Box Hill, 9890 4855. They said that they had replacement parts in stock (which they showed me) and seemed very open about ordering in any replacements as needed.
It cost $180 and I have been immensely happy with it and how it performs. You really can pretty much put anything into it and blend it to a smooth paste. It really frees you up while cooking as you can throw together different masalas without thinking about what steps to take and in what order you need to blend them.