If you are a fan of Indian cuisine, then you must be familiar with the Indian Masala Dabba. This small, round container is the secret weapon of every Indian kitchen. Not only does it keep all your spices organized, but it also brings a burst of flavor to your dishes. Here are eight wonderful ways to use the Indian Masala Dabba in your daily cooking:
1. Blend your own spice mixes
One of the most exciting things about cooking with an Indian Masala Dabba is the opportunity to create your own spice blends. Experiment with different combinations of spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cardamom to make your own unique masala. You can then use this masala to elevate the flavors of your curries, dals, and even rice dishes.
2. Temper your dishes
Tempering is a popular technique used in Indian cooking to enhance the aroma and taste of a dish. In a hot pan, heat some oil or ghee and add whole spices like cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and dried red chilies from your Masala Dabba. Allow them to sizzle and release their flavors before adding them to your dish. This simple step can transform a simple lentil soup or vegetable stir-fry into a flavorful delight.
3. Season your snacks and appetizers
The Indian Masala Dabba is not just limited to curries and main dishes. You can also use it to season your snacks and appetizers. Sprinkle some chaat masala on your roasted nuts, fries, or even fruit salads for a tangy and flavorful twist. The versatility of the masala dabba allows you to experiment with different spices and create unique combinations for your favorite snacks.
4. Infuse your beverages
Who said the Indian Masala Dabba is only for savory dishes? Think beyond curries and use your masala dabba to infuse flavor into your beverages. Add some whole spices like cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom to your tea or coffee for a warm and aromatic drink. You can even create your own spice blends for refreshing summer drinks like lemonade or iced tea.
5. Toast and grind whole spices
Take advantage of the empty compartments in your Masala Dabba to store whole spices like cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, or fenugreek seeds. Toasting these spices lightly in a dry pan brings out their flavors and aromas. Once cooled, grind them using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. The freshly ground spices will add a new dimension of flavor to your dishes, whether it’s sprinkled over roasted vegetables, mixed into dips, or used as a seasoning for grilled meats.
6. Prepare marinades and rubs
Another great way to use your Masala Dabba is by creating your own marinades and rubs. Mix together a combination of spices like paprika, chili powder, turmeric, and dried herbs from your Masala Dabba, along with oil, lemon juice, yogurt, or any other desired ingredients. Marinate your proteins or vegetables in this flavorful blend before grilling, roasting, or sautéing. Alternatively, use the spices and herbs from the Dabba in dry rubs for meats or vegetables before cooking them.
7. Sprinkle over popcorn or snacks
The Indian Masala Dabba can also be your secret weapon for upgrading movie nights or snack time. Sprinkle a pinch of your favorite spices or spice blends from the Masala Dabba over freshly popped popcorn, roasted nuts, or even fries for a burst of flavor. Try options like chaat masala, smoked paprika, or garlic powder to give your snacks an exciting twist.
8. Add flair to your homemade bread and doughs
Whether you’re making bread, pizza dough, or even homemade tortillas, the Indian Masala Dabba can be your go-to for adding extra depth to your baked goods. Experiment with adding spices like nigella seeds, sesame seeds, dried fenugreek leaves, or even crushed dried red chilies to your doughs. This addition will give your homemade bread and doughs a distinct flavor profile that will take them to the next level.
Remember, with the Indian Masala Dabba, the possibilities are endless. Let your creativity and taste buds guide you and have fun exploring new ways to use your favorite spices and herbs in your everyday cooking!
Mish Sen is a beloved teacher, turned popular food blogger. Realizing she had figured out shortcuts for creating amazing dishes in a lot fewer steps than it traditionally takes to make Indian dishes, she shares her recipes with as many people as she could. Mish shares through her popular food blog on Instagram @eatswithmish. Her cookbook, Indian Kitchen Secrets: 52 Easy-to-Make Indian Recipes for Beginners is available exclusively on Amazon. Mish teaches one-on-one as well as group cooking lessons and has hosted several online Indian cooking shows. She lives with her husband in Minnesota. For more information visit https://www.mishsen.com.