Masala Dabba

When I posted a pic of my masala dabba on my face book page people were asking me whats it all about well I said its project masala to see many folks at least had a good laugh. everybody is in search of a magic spice which could change our lives for good bad or ugly. adding a little bit of magic pepper and cumin from my project i present my masala dabba.
What you see in the pic is my grandmothers precious masala dabba I'm sure every meal that she prepared was magical...she was married in the year 1945 my grandpa was serving Indian Army (Madras Regiment) he was major and travelling was part of his job where ever he went my granny followed from Kashmir to kanyakumari so did the masala dabba oh by the way the masala dabba was her marriage gift from her mom. there were many sentiments attached to this box.
As valentine day is approaching i wanted to post a romantic journey a journey that never ended and still going strong. I've seen many people getting rid of old utensils and getting new stuff a complete makeover it can never happen at my home everything will remain as it is mom can never get over with all her vintage spoons and vessels sounds like a rant... :D
As per south indian  myth  as long as we have clean spices stored in a anjarai petti (masala dabba) the family will cherish well. in ancient days people made the masala dabba out of mango wood we had one which was very old but is broken and of no use as per customs if a girl gets married a masala dabba  is presented to the girl the meaning behind it was to keep the family together and happy. those days silver, brass, wood and copper were considered to bring good luck to family.
My vintage journey has a downside to it...takes a lot of effort to clean and make it shine its tough process to maintain brass and copper utensils and we use ground water the salt sediment dries on the vessels and gives it dark patches.
I used every possible cleaning agent to clean my glittery vintage masala dabba  the cleaning time...whole day...and used up 1/2 bottle pril, cif, tamarind, vim bar soap and pitambari first of all i soaked the whole dabba in hot water for 1/2 hour then cleaned it:D
My mom is going to pass this masala box to me as my marriage gift she says...:)
Finally I filled the compartments with spices in them every region in India have their own choice of spices to store in the masala dabba as south indians we prefer to store dried red chilies, channa dhal, split black gram dhal, cumin, mustard, fenugreek and black pepper corns. with all these spices in one place its very easy for tempering rasam sambar and other curries and vegetables...hope everyone enjoyed this post thanks for visiting...keep smiling...happy cooking...:)  

Do view my video on Masala Dabba...Enjoy...:)


  1. I love your vintage masala dabba. Masala Dabba is an essential item we all need when cooking Indian food. I too clean my dabba every week and like to have shining. Just noticed that your masala dabba has a lot of different masala to what mine has...I suppose every Region of India must use different spices for their cooking.

  2. "I used every possible cleaning agent to clean my glittery vintage masala dabba the cleaning time...whole day...and used up 1/2 bottle pril, cif, tamarind, vim bar soap and pitambari..."
    Wow,I never knew that tamarind can be used for cleaning too!We used to have a Masala Dabba too,and my mom used to store powdered spices in it - now she has shifted to individual bottles.She still has a Masala Dabba though,but it is now used to store whole garam masala - green cardamoms,cloves,black peppercorns,etc.
    I loved your Valentine's special post Vidya,very unique,yet simple and intriguing!:-)

  3. Hi Vidya. I just wanted to know if there is any convention followed while filling in the masala dabba. I mean should the ingredients be the same as you have mentioned above or can it vary?

    1. It can vary at my house we are used to these spices used in sambar and rasam so we tend to store them in the dabba you can even store chilly powder and turmeric powder from house to house and culture it varies i wanted to show what we store in our masala dabba...thanks for visiting my page enjoy...:)

  4. Wow an antique piece if treasure you got there vidya.....I think it must be generations of blessings there.....

  5. Hi... can anybody help me finding this kinda dabba .. looking for this everywhere!!!!



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