a) a time-saver, and
b) a space-saver.
a) it does not require opening several lids, and
b) stores the frequently used, most basic, and sufficient quantity of spices for daily use - all at one place.
a) turmeric powder (haldi powder)
b) red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
c) mustard seeds (rai)
d) cumin seeds (jeera)
e) coriander powder (dhaniya powder)
f) roasted cumin seed powder (jeera powder)
g) dry mango powder (amchoor)
My mother-in-law keeps fenugreek seeds (methi daana) instead of amchoor in her spice box because: a) she uses less of dry mango powder in her cooking, and b) the color of amchoor changes when kept open the masala dabba since she does not use often.
My mom keeps sugar instead of cumin seed powder in her spice box because she likes to add a pinch of sugar in everything she cooks.
My Gujrati friend keeps a mixed dhaniya-jeera powder instead of only jeera powder, and kokum instead of amchoor (she says the latter is not very good for the bones and that she uses lemon juice more often instead, plus it has Vitamin C).
Some less frequently used spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, etc are best stored in separate containers or their aroma fades away.
A post for beginners in the Indian Kitchen.
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