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The Masala Dabba (Indian Spice Box)

Ever since I began admiring and learning cooking, I never left any chance of learning aspects about cooking. Be it a new or an old recipe, I get inquisitive and excited about the outcome when I’m cooking something. It is an achievement if the outcome is better than the previous. Everyday I tend to look out for any kind of improvement in the kitchen too, be it utensils or cutlery. Any object that is kept in the kitchen gets utmost attention from me. I believe a kitchen is the soul of a home. Whatever you eat to make a living comes from the kitchen and it needs utmost care from our side. This is how my passion towards cooking gets stronger and stronger day by day.

There are certain things we need to do to make things easy in the kitchen, for example arranging proper containers for groceries and spices, keeping large containers for the monthly stock, space for the cutlery etc. Keeping similar ingredients and objects at one place is the best way I can think of having an organized kitchen.

Of late there is one thing that I have started loving, and that is, the Indian spice box that is found in most of the Indian kitchens. A traditional spice box (Masala Dabba) is a seven portioned box meant for organizing your daily spices/ingredients. I used to wonder if there was any convention to be followed while filling-in the spices. After a lot of observations I realized that it’s a personal choice and we could choose the spices as per our convenience.

Both my in laws are very good cooks and I observed that they used more or less the same seven ingredients at all times, five of them were in the box, two were placed separately. So I made a slight change and accommodated the two ingredients. Currently, these are our seven ingredients.

1. Turmeric powder

2. Cumin seeds

3. Unroasted peanuts*

4. Dry red chilly (Guntur chilly: Read this)

5. Channa dal*

6. Mustard seeds

7. Urad dal*

Ideally peanuts, channa dal and urad dal are not spices. You may wonder that they seem out of order. But, these ingredients go along with the mustard seasoning most of the time. Hence these three ingredients are included.


  1. Looks like my masala dappa :) I have fennel seeds instead of peanuts :) Glad to find your space following you now!! :)

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