This is a Narkel Kuruni. It has a flat round top with sharp serrated edges. This is used to grate coconut onto a plate that is placed underneath the tool. The one in the picture is actually one that my mom and dad brought with them from Bangladesh when they migrated here in the early 1990s. My mom was given this from her own mother as a gift. She used it to prepare many traditional Bengali meals. However, the shaved coconut is mainly used for deserts such as Bengali rice pudding, fruit custard, and shemai, a Bengali vermicelli dessert.
My grandmother used to spend hours over the Kuruni before Eid ul-Fitr, a Muslim holiday celebrated at the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting. In Bangladesh, my family had access to few electronics that we now take for granted, like a blender or a food processor. They were grateful just to have a Narkel Kuruni to add some crunch and flavor to their desserts with the addition of some shaved coconut. My grandma would feed me spoonfuls of her desserts. It’s one of the many ways she showed her love for me before my family had to go back to America (since I was born and lived in New York).
My mom has taught me how to use the Kuruni recently as a way for me to help during the holidays. It is actually pretty hard work since your back begins to ache after bending down to grind the coconut against the bladed top. However, I feel extremely happy to be able to connect with my culture and traditions.
– Ishraq Khan