Long before there were blenders and food processors, the sil and lorha were used for grinding seasonings such as garlic, peppers, pimento, etc. It was typically used in the making of various types of chutney, particularly coconut chutney. If you’ve never had coconut chutney with your doubles, with your curry or with your normal Trini street food, you are sadly missing out. No worries though, here’s the recipe so you can make it yourself.
1 dried coconut
8 leaves of bandania/ chadon beni
4 large garlic cloves
1 hot pepper
2 medium pimentos
1 teaspoon salt
Fireside or stove
One medium sized bowl / basin.
Sil (grindstone, used with lorha)
Lorha (Hand-held stone grinder)
1 Crack the coconut and remove the white coconut flesh from the hard brown outer shell using a sharp knife.
2 Once removed, wash the pieces and place over a medium flame, roasting them about 5 minutes per side (Roast until there are dark brown patches, but do not burn to a crisp.)
3 Once roasted, allow to cool, and scrape all the black soot from the outside of the pieces. Wash the coconut and cut into 1 inch pieces and then place pieces on your sil.
4 Roast the garlic with the skin on, alongside the pimentos and hot pepper on an open medium flame, turning regularly.
5 Grind your coconut, garlic roasted pepper and pimento using your lorha on the sil. If you do not own this traditional indian cooking utentsil, use a food processor. Read more about the origins and uses of the Sil and Lorha on the cover page of Propa Eats.
6 Once your coconut mixture turns into a paste, grind in your chadon beni.
7 Empty into a bowl, add the salt and set aside.
8 Enjoy with rice and dhal, curry duck, doubles , you name it!