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Spice guide

Spice guide

The importance of the Masala Dubba

The Masala Dubba

Click here to learn about the importance of the Masala Dubba.


Every Indian household will have a Masala Dubba. It’s a traditional spice tin or box that holds all the spices used to create great Indian dishes. It’s almost impossible to create authentic curries without one. 


With the exception of turmeric, the Masala Dubba will contain whole spices. I think it’s best to buy spices whole because -


  • Pre-ground spices rapidly lose their depth of flavour.
  • You can’t tell the quality once they are ground. A whole spice can’t be adulterated whereas ground spices are sometimes bulked out.
  • When you buy whole spices and grind them yourself you can control how finely you grind them. My father firmly believed that spices should not be too finely ground so that you can taste every spice individually. 


My 3 Masala Dubbas

Click here to see my video about my three masala dubba.


Every households Masala Dubba will be slightly different depending on their preferred spice combinations and where they originate from. I have three Masala Dubba and divide them into 2 main ones, as this helps people understand how to use the spices and a cheeky third.


They are


  1. Key Spice Masala Dubba - key spices provide the main, predominant flavour to your dish. These spices can be added at the beginning of cooking as they hold their flavour.
  2. Warming Spice Masala Dubba - warming spices, also known as finishing spices, provide a warmth and depth of flavour. These spices are added towards the end of cooking as they loose their flavour quite quickly.
  3. Cheeky Masala Dubba - for curries in a hurry.




author photo

Anjula Devi

A respected food writer and author, Anjula started cooking with her father at the age of eight. At that time the ingredients for Indian cuisine were not as readily available as they are now and Anjula travelled on the number 207 bus with her father to Shepherd’s Bush Market where they would buy a selection of spices, fresh fish and Indian vegetables. ​​ Utilising her cookery skills and passion for spices, Anjula launched her own business in 2010, Anjula Devi Authentic Indian Food, providing Indian dinner parties and Indian cookery classes. Anjula has created a range of authentic recipes for Manchester United, arguably the biggest football club in the world, where she is a consultant chef. A Brand Ambassador for TRS Foods, the world’s largest Indian food company, Anjula has also launched her own brand, Route 207, inspired by the bus route she used to take to the spice market.
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