Sifter Buying Guide

Cropped shot of a woman sifting flour into a glass bowl

Sifter Buying Guide

Here at Curry Fayre, we do not just love a good curry – we love all kinds of Indian cuisine! There are countless amazing dishes worth trying beyond a curry, with various soups, stews, sweets, and sides offering that trademark Indian flavour and aroma.

So, we always recommend to anyone that is making homemade curries to also try their hand at different types of Indian cuisine. For instance, instead of just making a delicious homemade curry, you could also make homemade naan bread or chapati to serve alongside your meal.

Better still, most Indian recipes are relatively straight-forward to follow, and you can use most of your current kitchen utensils to make it all. However, we always recommend investing in different types of Indian cookware to take your homemade meals and sides even better.

One of the more overlooked pieces of Indian cookware is the sifter – a great utensil that is used in various Indian recipes.

What is a Sifter?

A sifter or tamis is a type of sieve used in Indian cooking. The utensil goes by various names, with charni being the Indian term for the device, which is basically a standard kitchen sieve but with a few variations.

The most unique aspect of a charni is that the fine mesh material is flat, being attached to a cylindrical edge, usually made from metal or wood. As the mesh is flat, more pressure can be applied to ingredients inside the sifter using a basic horizontal motion (e.g. moving a scraper back and forth).

Sifters have various uses, letting you strain, grate, sift, and mash all kinds of ingredients used in Indian recipes.

Why Buy a Sifter for Indian Cooking?

A good charni is useful for various Indian recipes, essentially acting as a food mill and strainer. This means you can use it to sieve flours used in Indian flatbreads, mash potatoes for dals and stews, and any normal recipes that require straining or sifting.

The best use of a sifter for Indian cooking is for flatbreads like chapati and naan. Because the mesh material is fine and flat, it is incredibly efficient sifting lumps from flour used in flatbreads. This results in smoother dough, which means even tastier homemade flatbreads.

Of course, sifting, sieving, and straining is necessary in countless Indian recipes, including many curries, so a good sifter is always recommended for your kitchen.

How to Choose the Best Sifter

As the sifter is a relatively simple kitchen utensil, there are not many features you need to consider when buying one.

The main thing to focus on is the material and build of the sifter. Metal is the best materials for a charni, as it is much more durable than plastic or wood. Fine mesh metal provides the best sifting, ensuring lumps are removed from flours to ensure quality Indian flatbread.

Plastic sifters with metal mesh are popular thanks to their affordability, although the mesh often comes away from the plastic edge more often than with a metal edge.

Finally, consider the size of the sifter! Make sure it is large enough to cover your mixing bowls and pots, while also being mindful of anything that is too large – this could mean ingredients spilling out!