Wet grinder (food)

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Traditional wet grinding stone
Earlier wet grinders
A tabletop wet grinder for preparing food

A Wet grinder is a food preparation appliance used especially in Indian cuisine for grinding food grains to produce a paste or batter. Wet grinding is rare in western cuisine but common in Indian cuisine.[1][2] Wet grinders are used to make pastes from grains and lentils and is used extensively in South Indian cuisine for preparation of popular dishes such as dosa, idly, vada, appam and paniyaram.[3][4][5][6][7] It consists of a granite stones which rotate inside a metal drum with the help of an electric motor and the food grains get crushed between the stone and drum.[8]


P. Sabapathy developed the wet grinder in Coimbatore in 1955.[9][1][10] Sabapathy introduced the grinders to other cities such as Chennai and Madurai.[10] In 1963, P. B. Krishnamurthy started Lakshmi Grinders which led to the commercial popularity of wet grinders.[11] In 1975, R. Doraiswamy invented the tilting wet grinders.[12][11] L. G. Varadaraj introduced the table top wet grinders which replaced grinders which had to be placed on the ground.[13][11]


Wet grinder consists of granite stones which rotate inside a metal drum with the help of an electric motor and the food grains get crushed between the stone and drum.[14] Wet grinders have two advantages over electric mixers or blenders. First, the stone grinder generates less heat than a mixer and heat affects the flavor of the food. Second, the stones remain sharp for a greater time than do metal blades.


As the product was invented in the city, Coimbatore naturally emerged as a center for the manufacture of wet grinders. The availability of raw material in the form of granite stones, electric motor manufacturing units and the necessary heavy equipment such as lathes, drilling and milling machines used in manufacturing aided the development of the industry.[1] The city contributes to about 75% of the 1 lakh total monthly output of wet grinders in India.[15] The industry employs 20,000 people directly and provides indirect employment to 50,000.[1] In 2011, the cluster had a yearly turnover of 225 crore (US$32 million) which grew to 2,800 crore (US$390 million) in 2015.[15]

Geographical Indication[edit]

In 2005, the Government of Tamil Nadu applied for Geographical Indication for Coimbatore wet grinder.[16] The Government of India recognized it as a Geographical indication officially since the year 2005-06.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d Diagnostic study of the "wet grinder cluster" at Coimbatore (PDF) (Report). Development Commissioner, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  2. ^ Krishna Dubey (2010). The Indian Cuisine. PHI. p. 29. ISBN 9788120341708.
  3. ^ Farnworth, Edward R. (2003). Handbook of Fermented Functional Foods. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-1372-1.
  4. ^ Charmaine O' Brien (15 December 2013). The Penguin Food Guide to India. Penguin Books Limited. p. 378. ISBN 978-93-5118-575-8.
  5. ^ K. T. Achaya (November 2003). The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. pp. 80, 90. ISBN 81-7371-293-X.
  6. ^ P. Thankappan Nair (2004). South Indians in Kolkata. Punthi Pustak. p. 320. ISBN 81-86791-50-7.
  7. ^ Vir Sanghvi (1 January 2004). Rude Food: The Collected Food Writings of Vir Sanghvi. Penguin Books India. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-0-14-303139-0.
  8. ^ "How to choose a Wet grinder". indiacurry.com. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  9. ^ "How a wedding gift turned into a freebie". ’’Times of India’’. 31 March 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Magic of the arc lights". The Hindu. 13 July 2011.
  11. ^ a b c "Namma Coimbatore". The Hindu. 31 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Santha Grinders". santhagrinders.com. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Coimbatore's engineering and textile industries are abuzz with activity, ending a period of slowdown". Frontline. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  14. ^ "How to choose a Wet grinder". indiacurry.com. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Poll code set to hit wet grinders business". Live Mint. 6 August 2015.
  16. ^ "GI tag: TN trails Karnataka with 18 products". Times of India. 29 August 2013.
  17. ^ Registration Details of G.I Applications 2003 - 18 November 2013. Geographical Indications Registry (Report). Intellectual Property Office, Chennai. Retrieved 28 December 2013.