Traditional Brass Spice Box (Masala Dabba/ Anjaraipetti)
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- Spice box is an integral part of every Indian cuisine and brass was the preferred alloy for making the same for many centuries.
- Reason for brass being used traditionally is because Zinc which is a metal part of the alloy has immense anti-oxidant properties and helps to preserve the anti-onxidant benefits of all the spices we generally use. Anti-oxidants, as per modern research, helps fight cancer cells in our body.
- The age old spice boxes started with just 5 compartments (thereby the name Anjaraipetti in Tamil) but with more spices being incorporated in our cooking, the box compartments has increased to 7.
- The content of the various compartments varies with region and geography but the essence remains the same, to provide quick access to the spices as and when we do the tadka.
- Traditional old boxes used to come with a plate between the compartments and the lid to hold dry red chillies.
- The Tambat makers of Maharashtra have unique skills honed over centuries to work with Copper and brass metals
- The process starts with making of a mould and making the rough product and processing the same. This process is a crafts secret which is shared only within the Tambat community
- The rough products are hand worked for 3-4 hours with a finely balanced hand hammer beat on the surface to provide the unique craftsmen signature.
- Brass spice box is the preferred alloy for making the spice box as it lasts longer and does not impact the quality of spices stored in them.
- Brass being alkaline by nature, helps in keeping the spices fresh for long.
- Lasts for generations
- No harmful metals or chemicals. Tested for quality.
- The brass spice box is made without any kalai (tin coating) as it does not come in contact with acidic food /spice items.
- Use tamarind or lemon while washing to get back the shine. Refrain from using steel wired scrubs
- Outer box is lacquered to slow down the darkening or oxidisation process.
- Do not store acidic substances like lime, salt etc in the spice box as they are corrosive and reacts badly with brass.
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