Bengali Shil Nora, also known as Shil Noda, is a traditional grinding tool used in Bengali cuisine. It is primarily used for grinding or crushing spices, herbs, and other ingredients to prepare various dishes.
Shil Nora consists of two parts: a flat, sturdy stone slab called "Shil" and a cylindrical stone pestle called "Nora." The Shil is usually made of granite or other hard stones and has a flat surface with a slightly curved or concave shape. The Nora is a cylindrical stone rod with a rounded end, which is used to crush or grind the ingredients on the Shil.
To use the Shil Nora, the ingredients are placed on the Shil, and the Nora is pressed and rotated over them in a grinding motion. This process helps to release the flavors and aromas of the spices and herbs, enhancing the taste of the dish. The grinding action also helps in breaking down the ingredients into finer particles, creating a smooth texture.
Bengali Shil Nora is an essential kitchen tool in Bengali households, especially for preparing traditional dishes like masalas (spice mixes), pastes, chutneys, and various curry bases. It is considered to be more effective in grinding compared to modern electric grinders, as it allows for better control over the texture and consistency of the ingredients.
Although modern kitchen appliances have become popular in recent times, many Bengali households still prefer using Shil Nora for grinding spices and herbs due to its traditional significance and the unique taste it imparts to the dishes. It also adds a cultural touch to the cooking process, connecting people to their culinary heritage.