Deutsch: Ammikallu / Español: Ammikallu / Português: Ammikallu / Français: Ammikallu / Italiano: Ammikallu

Ammikallu (Ammi Kallu) is a Malayalam term that refers to traditional kitchen tool used in India to ground spices. It is a stone grinder used in Kerala, India to grind spices extensively used for cooking foods. It is a flat, rectangular-shaped stone with cylindrical stone pestle.

It is not like an ordinary mortar and pestle where foods (spices/foods) are pounded. In Ammikallu , the spices and foods are put on top or the surface of the flat stone then grounded using the pestle until they turned into a thick paste.

Ammikallu in the food context refers to a traditional South Indian grinding stone used for grinding grains, spices, and other food ingredients. It is typically made of stone and consists of a flat, rectangular base and a cylindrical roller.


Ammikallu is an essential traditional kitchen tool in many South Indian households. The tool is made of heavy stone and is designed for manual grinding, a process that enhances the flavor and texture of spices and grains. The base stone, called the "ammikallu," is flat and rectangular, while the rolling stone, known as the "kallu," is cylindrical and is used to crush and grind the ingredients.

The use of the ammikallu dates back centuries and remains popular for its ability to produce finely ground pastes and powders, which are crucial in South Indian cuisine. The grinding action of the ammikallu, which is performed by rolling the cylindrical stone back and forth over the base, releases essential oils and aromas from spices, making the food more flavorful compared to modern electric grinders.

Traditionally, the ammikallu is used to grind ingredients like rice, lentils, spices, and herbs. It is especially valued for preparing masalas (spice blends), chutneys, and wet pastes for various dishes. The texture achieved through manual grinding is considered superior and adds a unique taste to the food.

Special Considerations

Using the ammikallu requires skill and physical effort. The grinding process is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but many believe that the effort results in a richer taste and texture compared to using electric grinders. Regular maintenance is also essential to keep the stones clean and free of residue, which can affect the flavor of the ingredients.

Application Areas

Spice Grinding: The ammikallu is primarily used to grind spices like cumin, coriander, and pepper, as well as spice blends used in various South Indian dishes.

Chutney Preparation: It is used to make traditional chutneys from ingredients like coconut, mint, coriander, and tamarind.

Wet Grinding: The tool is used to grind soaked rice and lentils for batters used in dosa, idli, and vada preparations.

Masala Preparation: Fresh masalas for curries, sambar, and rasam are often ground using the ammikallu to achieve a fine, aromatic blend.

Well-Known Examples

  • Coconut Chutney: A popular South Indian side dish made by grinding fresh coconut, green chilies, and coriander on the ammikallu.
  • Dosa Batter: A fermented batter of rice and lentils, ground on the ammikallu, used to make crispy dosas.
  • Sambar Masala: A spice blend for the South Indian lentil soup, sambar, traditionally ground on the ammikallu.

Treatment and Risks

Using the ammikallu requires proper technique to avoid injury, as the stones are heavy and can cause strain on the hands and wrists. Regular cleaning and drying are crucial to prevent mold and residue buildup, which can affect the flavor of the food. Additionally, the ammikallu should be used on a stable surface to avoid accidents.

Similar Terms

  • Sil Batta: A similar grinding stone used in North India, comprising a flat stone slab (sil) and a grinding stone (batta).
  • Metate: A traditional grinding stone used in Mesoamerican cultures, similar in function to the ammikallu.


In the food context, the Ammikallu is a traditional South Indian grinding stone used to manually grind grains, spices, and other ingredients. This tool, consisting of a flat base and a cylindrical roller, is essential for preparing various South Indian dishes by producing finely ground pastes and powders. Despite being labor-intensive, the ammikallu is cherished for its ability to enhance the flavor and texture of food, making it an indispensable part of South Indian culinary tradition.


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