Saturday, February 24Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Grater in Tagalog? History, Designs, and Types

A grater in Tagalog is called “kudkuran,” a kitchen tool used for shredding food into smaller pieces. This includes carrots, cheese, coconut, nutmeg, and other fruits and vegetables. Most graters are handy and used not only in homes but also in restaurant kitchens. In the Philippines, a lot of food recipes include coconut milk and markets usually have stalls with coconut graters (“kudkuran ng niyog” in Tagalog)..

Graters in the Philippines
Coconut Grater and Cheese Grater (inset) in the Philippines

The concept of grating or shredding food can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Early graters were often simple tools made from materials like stone, wood, or metal. These early graters were likely used to shred ingredients like cheese, vegetables, and spices. During the Roman Era, metal graters were often small, handheld, and mostly made of bronze, used to grate ingredients like cheese and spices.

In the Middle Ages, graters continued to be made from metal, and their designs became more elaborate. They were often ornately decorated and featured different sizes of grating surfaces for various purposes. At the time, hard cheese was very popular due to its distinct taste but it was difficult to carve using the existing design of graters. This eventually caused the utensil companies to stop producing them.

François Boullier of France and Isaac Hunt of England are both credited for inventing the improved cheese grater in the 16th century. The invention speeds up the process of grating multiple food items, and food preparation in general. Cheese became more popular and many meat farmers switched to dairy. However, the market became saturated with cheese and the price rose until only rich people could afford them.

Come the Great Depression in the 1920s, there was excess cheese but food was scarce. Jeffrey Taylor, a cheese shop owner in Philadelphia learned about Boullier’s invention and improved its design. He sharpened the holes of a metal shower drain as a prototype for the modern cheese grater. Taylor introduced it to the public and became an instant hit in the US. Since then, several designs of graters have been developed.

Here are the types of graters commonly used in kitchens today

  • Flat Grater: This versatile and affordable option can be made from various materials like stainless steel, plastic, or wood. It’s easy to store, clean, and dishwasher safe. Simply place it over a bowl or plate to grate vegetables or cheese.
  • Box Grater: This multi-sided grater has four sides with different grating slots, allowing for fine, medium, coarse, and very fine grating. It collects grated food neatly in the box, making it a versatile choice.
  • Rotary Grater: Featuring a stainless steel grating drum and a handle, rotary graters are popular due to their convenience. Parts can be removed for easy cleaning, and the rotary action makes grating quicker. Ideal for cheese, nuts, and more.
  • Ginger Grater: Designed specifically for grating ginger, this narrow grater has fine holes and a sharp blade for efficient grating.
  • Nutmeg Grater: This type has tiny holes with a sharp blade, ideal for grating hard spices like nutmeg, commonly used as a garnish.
  • Zest Grater: Perfect for grating citrus zest, it has small holes and a sharp blade for finely grated zest. Easy to clean by hand or in a dishwasher.

For convenience and faster results, there are also electric graters.: Available in corded, cordless, or battery-operated versions, heavy-duty graters can handle a variety of ingredients. Electric graters vary in size and price, offering a wide range of options for different culinary needs. However, they are more dangerous than the manual type and can cause finger injuries, especially to inexperienced users.

Use kudkuran in a sentence.


Paki kuha nga yung kudkuran ng keso. Gusto ko kasi magluto ng spaghetti.


Please get the cheese grater. I want to cook spaghetti.

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