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.

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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.

Oops…too many seeds


We had guests for dinner over the weekend. My carefully planned menu turned out rather well.

There was one rice dish, which had a number of seeds – mustard, cumin, cardamom, peppercorn and star anise, in addition to various vegetables.

There were enough leftovers to last us till lunch the next day.

After eating the leftovers the next day, my son asked me why I hadn’t cooked anything new. I promised him that I would cook something that he liked for dinner, as I did not want to waste food.

He readily agreed and ran away to play. When he came home he sniffed the air appreciatively, and asked me what was for dinner.

When I told him, he let out a whoop of joy, and then said, “I was so scared that I would have to eat that ‘seedy’ rice again!!!

I laughed and told him the meaning of ‘seedy’!