My ‘Anjarai Petti’

I love to cook. I cook a lot of Indian, and a bit of Italian, Mexican and Chinese.

Most Indian dishes, especially the South Indian ones, use many different types of seeds – that are typically roasted, used for seasoning or ground into a paste with vegetables, to prepare chutneys or bases for different types of gravies.

While I cooked this morning, I realized that my kitchen needed an overhaul, too much clutter. I decided to make a list of things I really need, and the ones that I’d like to retire or store for future use.

My crazy brain then hyperlinked to another question – What are the things that I could not part with in my kitchen ?

I have a couple of things that I absolutely love. One is my humble coffee filter (I would die without it). The other is my Anjarai Petti (meaning box with five compartments).

This round box is used to store all the seeds I use in my cooking. Most Indian women have some form of the Anjarai Petti or other, to store spices or seeds or masala powders. Call it a spice rack or a seasoning rack.

I would be lost without this in my kitchen. As the name suggests, the box may have started off with five compartments, but most boxes these days have seven compartments. There are steel ones, wooden ones, and plastic ones.

Mine is a stainless steel one, which I use to store black gram, mustard seeds, pepper corn, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. The box comes with a small spoon.

Here’s my Anjarai Petti, my ‘must-have’ kitchen resource.


It’s easy and convenient, as most South Indian dishes start with sputtering mustard in oil and adding other seeds, before other things are added.

Do you have a ‘must-have’ kitchen list? I would love to know.

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42 Responses to My ‘Anjarai Petti’

  1. Shivangi says:

    I am not much of a cook, having started cooking only when we moved to the US and have discovered that I like it. In kitchen I can’t do without my kitchenaid and ‘kutni’, a marble bowl in which you grind spices. These two are a must😀. Enjoyed your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. lola gayle says:

    I would absolutely go nuts without my hand-cranked food processor. Because I cook most things with a ton of onions, it takes a lot of the pressure off because I can throw in some big chunks of onion and quickly dice them into yummy oblivion.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. katelon says:

    How do you limit yourself to just 7 seeds? Or do people have several of these containers? I made myself a spice rack and it had room for perhaps 30 or more jars.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. NJ says:

    Wow just like you I too have this spice box but instead of seeds I keep most essential spices in it 🙂 and yes my kitchen and food both will die a slow death without them 🙂 and yes the most essential item of my kitchen is my chakki(kinda of processor) that I use to make wheat dough :p …I am bad in making it by hand 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • nimi naren says:

      Ah..the chakki processor…how would we survive without it. Even I’m quite bad at kneading with my handa

      Liked by 1 person

      • NJ says:

        🙂 And you know recently when my in-laws visited me …they were coming to stay with us for first time after my marriage …my processor got some defect 😦 and i had to knead by hand for some months 😛 ..but this helped to perfect the kneading art 😉


  5. The must have in my kitchen is my microwave. I guess that tells you a bit about how good a cook I am!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ginjuh says:

    We have a new Indian restaurant in town, and I look forward to trying it. There is not a lot of Indian food to try in the southeast.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kimboxin says:

    I can not live without Cumin, Rosemary, Ginger, Sesame Oil, Fennel, Olive Oil, and Sriracha. All of these have different uses, but they are my staples.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, this would be so hard – but high on the list would be my rice cooker. I don’t know how I lived without one, and it makes so many things (and so easily, too!).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sash says:

    Please don’t ever let go of your coffee filter. Can’t think of missing the best coffee in town.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The ‘inevitable ‘ box in kitchen , saves time & a we can’t miss the items in it . The other thing I can’t part with it is – hing bar – cutter. Nice writeup Nirmala .

    Liked by 1 person

  11. D K Powell says:

    I must confess we tend to store our spices ‘ground’ rather than as whole seeds. I’m not sure if there is a great difference but I do know we’d be lost without our spices and herbs. We have much, much more than five or seven!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hargun Wahi says:

    We call it ‘namak dani’ 😉
    This was again an interesting post .

    Liked by 1 person

  13. reocochran says:

    I really like your choices, especially the plate or serving dish to locate the roasted seeds and spices. I have a scent warmer with either vanilla or caramel that covers strong smells I love, Nimi.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. mukhamani says:

    I used to have this but now I keep all the spices in different bottles on the small ledge to the right of the gas stove.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. 9recipes says:

    Great! Thanks for your sharing

    Liked by 1 person

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