Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Trip to a Traditional Mustard Oil Mill -- Rotary Ghani

We noticed we are about to run out of mustard oil, which we use for cooking, the day before yesterday. That meant we need to take a trip to the ghani (traditional mustard oil mill) to get more. 

Living in a village has its benefits and among them is that we can buy mustard seeds from farmers. My Dad used to be a farmer before he decided to retire a few years back. While he was still farming, we would harvest our own mustard seeds... but now, he only plants enough (in the vegetable garden) to make sarson da saag. Every year, we buy 50 kgs. of mustard seeds during harvest season and store it in large drums. Whenever we are about to run out of mustard oil, we will take out 12 kgs. of mustard seeds and drive to town to get oil extracted from the seeds.

Traditional Mustard Oil Extracting Machines

ghani, which is a large circular mortar made of metal, wood or stone with an upright heavy pestle, can be readily found in many areas within India as it is still the most common way people get oil. Though most people who live in cities tend to purchase refined oil in stores, there are still a large number of people who would rather get their oil extracted directly from oil seeds.

Mustard seeds being milled to extract oil in a large pestle
grinds the mustard seeds within a metal mortar 

The traditional mustard oil mill or rotary ghani we went to normally accepts a minimum of 12 kgs mustard seeds (sarson), though it normally takes only about 10 kgs of mustard seeds for a ghani to function properly. If, like what happened to us last year, we bring less than 12 kgs (last time we had only 11.5 kgs) we would still be charged for 12 kgs.). This year, we weighed our mustard seeds carefully and even added a little more to ensure we would meet the 12 kg minimum requirement. As a matter of fact, we had 13.5 kgs today (yay!). 

The process of extracting the oil from the seeds took about 45 minutes. We get to sit in chairs near the machines and watch the oil drip down onto a pipa (tin container that is also considered as a unit of measure in Punjab, India). 

extracting mustard oil -- the oil drips and is collected into a pipa

After all the oil has been extracted, there is a lot of oilcake (traditionally called khal in Punjabi). Most people who have dairy animals at home normally take all of the oilcake with them as it can be used as part of cattle feed mainly because it is very expensive to buy it. Since we no longer keep a dairy animal (we used to have a Jersey cow), we sell the khal to the mill owner and, after the owner deducts the fee for extracting the oil, he paid us the remainder -- the oilcake, like I said, is expensive. 

This time, 13.5 kgs of mustard seeds (sarson) yielded us about 5 liters of mustard oil and 8 kgs of oilcake (which we sold to the mill owner) and we got Rs 20 back. Not bad... :)


If you would like to know more about Ghani or the traditional method of extracting oil in India you can visit the link below:

 Ghani: A traditional method of oil processing in India 
Posted by: Bames Pabla
Bames Live, Updated at: 5:12 PM

1 comment:

  1. Mustered mill nice one.Great process shown in this blog.
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