Is too ridiculous to say that I’m reveling in the Revel?
Already you’re wincing. But the truth is that ever since the Revel Wet ‘N Dry Grinder arrived in last week’s post, I’ve fallen in love.
As with most new infatuations, the device has yet to reveal its warts—at least in lurid detail. But for now, I marvel at its ability to whip up a silken ginger-garlic paste, not to mention the near-instant production of a stunning yogurt-cilantro-spice marinade for grilled lamb kebabs that I’ll be sharing with you next time.
A wet grinder—even a little one like the Revel—is a life changing acquisition if you are as addicted to curries (and as time-pressed) as I am. Unfortunately I’m less impressed with its efficacy as a dry grinder—I won’t be giving up my trusty Krups anytime soon.
Still, for a curry fanatic, $29.99 plus shipping seems like a fair deal.
Does this sound like a half-hearted infomercial?
I’ve been hearing about the Revel for a few years, but never quite managed to track it down. Then, just a few weeks ago I had a chance to use one in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking course. There it was, in all its shiny chrome splendor, perched on a table, ready to puree garlic, ginger and ground spices for the Tandoori Chicken marinade.
Using short bursts, it took just 15 or 20 seconds to whip the ingredients into a creamy paste. I had visions of finally being able to make a few of the curries in Camilla Panjabi’s book, 50 Great Curries of India, that call for “a fine puree,” a texture which I haven’t been able to achieve with a blender or food processor.
The secret of the Revel appears to be the position of the blades. The lower blade is set very close—about 1/8-inch—to the bottom of the grinding bowl. This means that, unlike blenders or food processors, the Revel’s whirling blades leave no morsel of food untouched. After four to five short bursts, chunks of fibrous ginger and garlic are reduced to a paste—though you must add a tablespoon or two of water or canola oil to get a truly silken texture.
Sadly, all is not well in Revel land. For one thing, the grinding bowl is small. It holds about ½-cup of unprocessed ingredients, so it’s best for making small quantities of paste that are then whisked into liquid or semi-liquid ingredients like yoghurt or coconut milk.
Then there’s its not entirely sturdy appearance. With all its plastic parts, the Revel sort of looks like those flimsy TV infomercial gizmos that I’m tempted to order around 3 AM on sleepless nights. The blades are so thin that I would never use it for grinding hard spices such as nutmeg or cassia—or frankly any dry spices since the Krups is so much more efficient. So for me, it’s basically a wet grinder. As mentioned, the motor cannot be run continuously, but only in short bursts of one to five seconds with cool-down time in between.
And it’s complicated to open and close the grinding bowl.
In this regard, it is absolutely necessary to read the instructions before using the device. Nothing is intuitive. Do not throw away the insert titled “How to Remove the Inner Lid.” Without it, you will never figure out how to get into the grinder bowl.
A few tips:
1. Do not try to remove what appears to be a clear plastic cover on top of the grinder bowl. It is immovable. The grinder bowl actually consists of two pieces, shown above: an outer housing (right) and an inner container (center). The base is on the left.
To open it, remove the entire bowl assembly from the base and place it on the counter. Hold it through the openings on either side and pull down. You’ll hear a click. Now you can lift off the outer housing, which gives you access to the inner bowl.
After filling the bowl, place the outer housing over it and press down gently but firmly. You’ll hear a click, which means that the two parts have been connected. Now you can place the reassembled bowl with cover onto the base.
2. Be sure that the white “tabs” extending from the bottom of the bowl assembly are lined up with the slots on the base of the machine. To align properly, pick up the bowl and position it so that one tab fits securely into the slot above the inverted red triangle over the “V” in Revel—the other two tabs will automatically slip into their own slots.
3. Press down on the top to run the machine—but only for one to five seconds at a time. The printed warning on the lid reads, “To be used in short bursts.”
I haven’t used the Revel long enough to know how durable it is; comments on Amazon are far from flattering. It does come with a 3-year warranty and the manufacturer, Galaxy Appliances, offers to “service” the device if you send it to them.
At this point, you’re might be wondering why you would want to buy this machine. For me, it all comes down to how often you make wet curry pastes and whether you care to risk $30 on the chance that the grinder might not last as long as you’d like. In From Curries to Kebabs, Madhur Jaffrey points out that you can make pretty decent ginger-garlic paste simply by using a microplane, an all-purpose grater that you probably already have in your kitchen.
But personally I’ve bloodied one too many knuckles trying to grate the last bit of garlic, even on the microplane which I adore. I’m about to make a green Thai curry paste for shrimp and eggplant using my new toy.
Fresh Ginger-Garlic Paste
Here’s an easy recipe for ginger-garlic paste made in a wet grinder or mini-food processor:
4 tablespoons garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of the grinder or processor. Cover and process until reduced to a creamy paste.
This makes just under 1/2-cup ginger-garlic paste. Any paste not required in a recipe can be refrigerated for one to two weeks.
I bought the Revel CCM 101 from samstores for $29.99 plus $8.00 shipping. Be sure to order the 110 volt model for use in the U.S.