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Idli, dosa, appam, paniyaram…if you’ve never heard of these Indian delights you’re missing out on a delicious way to get more protein and complex carbs in your vegan diet. All of these dishes are made from grains such as lentils and rice.
However, in order to make these authentic Indian foodstuffs at home, you really need a wet grinder.
Since wet grinders aren’t common kitchen appliances outside of South Asian cultures, we’ll start with a basic guide to what to shop for. Then, we’ll present our reviews and show you the best wet grinder on the market.
What is a wet grinder?
A wet grinder is a kitchen appliance made especially for turning soaked grains into the perfect consistency for making bread and cakes.
The wet grinder consists of a drum containing several granite stones. As the stones rotate, they grind the grain between them to produce a batter or paste that is then used for cooking.
Wet grinders can be found in nearly every Indian kitchen, but people living outside the subcontinent will have fewer options. It used to be that your only choice was to bring a wet grinder back to the USA from a trip to India and use a voltage transformer—and many families did just that!
Today, however, you can buy wet grinders online, which makes life a whole lot easier for American and Canadian fans of Indian cuisine.
What can I make with a wet grinder?
Wet grinders are versatile tools that make once labor-intensive dishes easy. Here’s a short list of some of the Indian foods you can make with a little help from a wet grinder:
A traditional hot breakfast cake made from black lentils and rice.
Thin pancake made from fermented rice and lentils.
Pancake made from rice and coconut milk.
Steamed rolls made from rice and black lentils.
Spicy condiment made from chopped vegetables or fruit with ground spices.
Essential base seasoning for curry dishes.
Ground sesame seeds, frequently used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking (think hummus!).
Some people try to make their Indian batters and pastes in a high-powered blender, but it’s much harder to get the proper consistency.
Overall, wet grinders are unique kitchen appliances that produce results like no other gadget can. So, if you’re serious about making the most authentic Indian dishes possible, buying yourself a grinder for wet ingredients is the only way to go.
How do I use a wet grinder?
In general, you simply add your soaked grains or other damp ingredients to the wet grinder, push start, and let the machine do the work. However, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.
The first time you use your wet grinder, grind something cheap like boiled rice. Because many wet grinders use natural stones, there may be some residue that transfers from the rollers to your food on the first use. Wash the grinder thoroughly and you should be ready to go.
If you’re working with multiple ingredients, wet grinder owners also recommend adding water and the harder foods to grind first, followed by the easier ones. If you have just one ingredient, add water first and mix in the grains in small batches.
The amount of time needed to finish your grinding will vary, so learning to use a wet grinder may take some trial and error. However, once you get the hang of it, making your favorite Indian dishes at home couldn’t be easier.
Here’s a step by step guide to using a wet grinder:
- Put the wet grinder’s drum on the center rod and rotate slowly until you hear a click, then insert the rollers inside the drum and ensure they are secure.
- Place the lid on top and press down lightly until it’s in the locked position.
- Open the pouring cover found atop the lid (NOTE: Some models will require the entire lid to be removed). Add a cup of water to the drum, then close.
- Power up the wet grinder and wait until the grinder’s stones have gathered speed.
- Now open up the pouring hatch and add your ingredients. Start slowly and add small batches at a time to ensure the mix stays moist. Repeat until you reach the desired consistency.
- Turn off your wet grinder and unlock the arm that holds the rollers in place, then lift the rollers from the drum.
- Take your batter cleanser and place it over the drum, then put your rollers on top. Slowly rotate the grinding stones by hand to dislodge any remaining batter, allowing it to drop down into the mixture below.
- Take out the rollers once more, then remove the batter cleanser as well. Unlock and lift the drum off of the center rod, then pour the mixture into either a serving dish, container, or directly into the pan, depending on what you have just ground down.
- Wash and dry all items, then reassemble so that your wet grinder is ready to use next time.
Naturally, some models may vary slightly from the above, but it’ll give you a decent guide to follow if you’re a first-time user.
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What should I look for when shopping for a wet grinder?
Wet grinders are generally fairly similar in design, but there are a few things you should look for when making your purchase:
Wet grinders sold outside India tend to range from about a cup to two liters. What you decide upon will naturally be down to your own personal requirements in the kitchen.
The power of the motors will vary. The more pastes and batters you plan to make, the stronger the motor required. Larger quantities take longer to grind down, so the motor will be put under increased strain.
Going for a more powerful machine will prevent the dreaded burnout from occurring.
Size & weight
Some wet grinders are designed to be compact and light enough to move from the cabinet to the counter each day. Others swap convenience of storage for durability.
If you use your wet grinder often, it may be easier to just make it a permanent fixture on your kitchen worktop.
When buying a wet grinder, USA and Canada residents need to ensure that their gadget will work when they plug it in.
As these gadgets are predominantly used in India, where the standard voltage is 230v, many of them will not work without the help of a voltage transformer, so make sure you check for a 110v appliance before you buy. (1, 2)
NOTE: All of the wet grinders reviewed below will work in both the US and Canada.
Finally, though this isn’t a recommendation that we usually make, you should also consider the brand. Premier wet grinders are head and shoulders above the competition. Ultra are also amongst the best wet grinder brands sold outside India.
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Best Wet Grinder Reviews
Ready to add a wet grinder to your arsenal of kitchen gadgets? Here are our picks for making your very own mouth-watering Indian fare at home.
Premier 2.0l Tilting Wet Grinder
The Premier 2.0l Tilting Wet Grinder is made from all stainless steel and BPA-free plastic components, so you can rest assured that your food isn’t going to come into contact with anything that could contaminate your dishes.
The sturdy gear construction also doesn’t use any belts, which keeps the motor cool and functioning for longer, and the grinding stones are guaranteed not to chip or powder.
Customers love that the grinding drum tilts to make removing heavy batter easier. With a two liter capacity, it would be hard to scrape all the dough out without this handy feature. The grinding drum is also removable for easy washing.
Home cooks have used this appliance with great success to make all kinds of batters, as well as other ingredients such as tahini – perfect for you hummus fiends out there! Another bonus is that it doesn’t overheat even after it has been on for hours, which gives you more options for what to make.
On the downside, some owners complained that the tilting function on this wet grinder was too “loose.” As a result, it may roll or tip during transfer, so care needs to be taken. Speaking of transfer, some people found the Premier 2.0l Tilting Wet Grinder too bulky and heavy to move about frequently.
For the most part, though, people seemed pleased with this Indian wet grinder. This model is all about convenience, as it grinds large quantities of ingredients into pastes and batters in less time than similar products. On the other hand, this speed may yield a thinner consistency. Whether you like this or not is a matter of personal taste.
- Innovative, tilting grinding drum
- Easily washable
- Capable of handling large quantities
- Fast and smooth operation
- Runs cool for versatile use
- Heavy and bulky
- Yields thinner batter
- Tilt action needs to done with care to avoid spillage
Premier Wonder Table Top Wet Grinder 1.5 Liter
The Premier Wonder Table Top Wet Grinder has a 1.5-liter capacity and a compact, “modern” aesthetic.
The parts that come in contact with your food are stainless steel and BPA-free plastic. Paired with a powerful, belt-free motor, this gadget is clean and effective.
Among customer reviews, one fact that stood out was the speed and quality of the Premier Wonder Table Top Grinder. Cooks report making delicious doughs in less time and soaked grains can be ground to batter in just 15 to 30 minutes.
Like other Premier grinders, this model uses a beltless engine that runs cooler and lasts longer than other makes. Customers enjoy making batters and pastes with this compact kitchen tool as it simply works so well at what it is designed to do.
However, some people experienced issues with batter sticking to the pot and difficulties with cleaning.
As with all appliances of this nature, we strongly recommend washing the drum immediately after use or at least giving it a thorough rinse before washing it properly later on. The drum may also have a chemical smell upon arrival, so an initial cleaning is particularly important.
Finally, some people found this appliance to be too noisy. That being said, wet grinders are all noisy because of the job they do, so you won’t escape the racket entirely.
- Modern stainless steel design
- Powerful beltless motor
- Works fast
- Decent capacity
- Produces great results
- Can be difficult to clean
- Chemical smell on new drums
Premier Wet and Dry Chutney Grinder
This small wet grinder by Premier contains a permanently sharp blade for quick slicing and dicing for years to come.
The Premier Wet and Dry Chutney Grinder also features an anti-scratch lid, which is great as it reduces the risk of bacterial buildup. It can also be used with both wet and dry ingredients, so it’s a pretty versatile piece of kit.
The outside of the gadget is white and steel with red accents. Though most people seem to like the design, some complain that the steel quality on this wet grinder is “not great”, which is obviously a pity. Like all other grinders, this one should be washed immediately after use.
The capacity is 500ml and its smaller size makes it ideal for making chutney, hence the name. Therefore, if you want to make doughs and batters for dishes such as idli or dosa, you may want to pick another model.
However, if you’re simply looking for an inexpensive appliance that can whizz up some small servings, this may be the best wet grinder for you.
- Stay sharp blade
- Anti-scratch lid
- Compact, stylish design
- Perfect for occasional use
- Thin steel may dent easily
- Not suitable for idli or dosa
Premier Compact Table Top Grinder
The SS Premier Compact Table Top Grinder can make 2 liters of yummy dough, batter, or paste easily and quickly.
Its compact design houses a powerful motor without taking up a ton of counter space, so it’s ideal for anyone with limited kitchen real estate.
Among the best things about this particular appliance is the durable gear drives and stellar customer service many have come to expect from Premier.
Though some people unfortunately received broken products, Premier’s customer service replaced the gadget quickly and without fuss. Some people even report getting a new wet grinder after the warranty expired!
Owners also love that this grinder is quieter than the others. However, some people wished that the drum would tilt to make it easier to empty. On the bright side, a non-tilting drum means fewer moving parts and a smaller gadget.
The color actually seems to work for a lot of people, but it definitely won’t match every kitchen. However, if you don’t mind it, the SS Premier Compact Table Top Grinder may well become your new favorite kitchen gadget.
- Easy to clean
- Fast and easy to operate
- Can handle a multitude of wet grinding tasks
- Powerful 200w motor
- Innovative gear drive should prolong lifespan
- Very capable atta kneader as well as grinder
- Color scheme won’t be to everyone’s taste
- Despite being compact, the drum can be heavy when full with batter
Ultra Dura+ Table Top 1.25L Wet Grinder with Atta Kneader
The only non-Premier product on the list, the Ultra Dura+ Table Top 1.25L Wet Grinder with Atta Kneader impressed us greatly with its easy-to-clean drum and versatile capacity.
The Ultra Dura+ can take 1.25 liters at a time, which makes it big enough for batters but also small enough to make batches of chutney easily too. The steel and off-white grinding drum is topped with a purple lid, which looks a little odd.
However, even though the design may leave something to be desired, customers love the taste of the dough made in this handy gadget.
Now for the downside. Some customers reported that this Indian wet grinder gives off a burning smell while on. To avoid this, try to adequately soak you’re ingredients before grinding and add water as needed. It may not be your fault though: some suggest the motor may simply overheat if used for too long.
Though the Ultra Dura+ is light and easy to move, some people thought this might compromise the durability of the grinding stones. Finally, some people found this particular product to be a little too noisy—but this doesn’t stop them from using it!
- 5-year motor warranty
- Good capacity
- High grade stainless steel
- Can overheat with excessive use
- Not the most attractive design in the world
So which is the best wet grinder for making Indian cuisine at home?
From this list, we like the Premier Compact Table Top Grinder PG 501 best for its power and capacity in a small package. The genius motor design of Premier’s products uses gears instead of belts to keep their appliances from overheating – perfect for those long grinds.
The big two-liter capacity means that you can make enough idli dough for a whole week of feasting and the gadget is fairly versatile too. The powerful 200w motor of this particular model can take on just about anything.
The customer service from Premier also gets top marks. Though some people received broken products, customer service quickly resolved the issue and provided replacements. This peace of mind is especially beneficial for people who use their wet grinder on a frequent basis.
On the other hand, the drum doesn’t tilt, which may make batter harder to remove when used to capacity, and the exterior color may not work for everybody either. However, as a whole, this may be the best wet grinder for any busy family or individual who wants their favorite Indian foods made quickly and easily at home.
Even if you’ve never had the Indian foods we mentioned in this post, you may be surprised at the different uses of a wet grinder. Fortunately, wet grinders have left the Indian subcontinent and are now readily available for dosa-loving cooks everywhere, with the best wet grinder for USA models leading the way.
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About The Author:
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention. She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living.
Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious, and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
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- Electrical Safety First | Travel Adaptor For India | https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guidance/advice-for-you/when-travelling/travel-adaptor-for-india/
- Chris Deziel | How to Tell the Difference Between 110V and 220V | https://www.hunker.com/12413597/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-110v-and-220v