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Masala Dabba

Our brass masala dabba designed by Tiipoi and handspun by metal workers in Bangalore is the quintessential Indian spice tool, made to level up your cooking and last generations. 

 

Masala Dabba
Masala Dabba

The Making of the Masala Dabba

Designed by Tiipoi’s industrial designer Andre Pereira in their studio in London, the Diaspora x Tiipoi Masala Dabba are made in Tiipoi’s workshop in Bangalore by craftsman Venkatesh Chinnappa aka Venky ‘Anna’ (which translates to older brother in nearly all of the South Indian languages).

Venky has been spinning metal for over 25 years and now Tiipoi’s metal products since they began. This craft is at the heart of so many of Tiipoi’s collections. You can read more about Metal Spinning in our blog post too.

Tiipoi is a London based design studio with a workshop in Bangalore founded in 2013 by Spandana Gopal. Tiipoi believes that there is more to Indian design than just sticking an elephant on it, and that Indian craft has more to offer than simply repeating the past.

India can seem a pretty chaotic place. But sitting there, quietly, are some really incredible, super functional designs. The “designers” of these objects if they can be found at all, aren’t celebrated in the same way as they are in other countries, (the Masala Dabba is definitely one such design!) and instead, design is seen as a bi-product of living. This unassuming approach, with an emphasis on a quiet functionality, is what inspires and drives the ethos behind the studio.

FAQs

A Masala Dabba is the way most people in South Asia store their spices! You’ll find it in every South Asian kitchen! Think of the seven spices you grab most in your kitchen while cooking - this could be cumin, your favorite chilli, turmeric, black pepper - as the spices you store in your dabba! Masala dabbas come in all shapes, sizes and materials - we were especially excited to team with Tiipoi for our version! This is a beautiful heirloom piece that can be passed down for generations from one kitchen to the next.

  • Diameter: 7.42 in or 188.4 mm
  • Height: 3.09 in or 78.4 mm

The best way to use the dabba is to have the spices in katoris, or with all the lids open, all the spoons in and ready to throw spices into a pan! The smells will get mixed over time, so if you find yourself not using the spices in the dabba as often, then it's good to store them in jars with lids instead to retain max oil content and freshness.

Because Brass is an alloy of copper and tin, it does develop a patina over time, as it’s exposed to moisture and touch. Just like you season a cast iron pan, you need to begin by rubbing some coconut oil on the dabba and wiping it down with a clean towel to create a layer of protective coating between the outside and the dabba. 

To clean your patinated dabba, we recommend using Pitambari or Flitz - it’s a chemical cleaning paste that is USDA certified Food Safe. If you would like to use a more natural cleaning method, you can also use our flour & vinegar method.

Cleaning with Flitz:

Use a cleaning cloth or paper towel to rub a pea-sized amount of Flitz onto the dabba.      Scrub until the blue paste turns black and then begins to rub off. Once the stains lighten, rinse with warm water and dish soap to ensure the acid doesn’t continue to eat at the metal.

Cleaning with Flour & Vinegar: 

Make a paste of flour and white vinegar (no special ratio, you're just creating a carrier paste for the acid which helps remove the tarnish).Scrub the paste onto the dabba with a soft brush. Rinse the dabba in warm water. You may have to repeat this process for tougher stains.

To finish, dry your dabba with a dish towel. Rub your dabba with a small amount of coconut oil which will seal it and help prevent future stains, given that brass is a porous metal. Wipe off any residual oil with a soft towel for a smooth shine!

Check out our care and cleaning video here!

This will depend on you and your location! If you like the natural patina formed by the brass, you can clean your dabba less often. If you are in a humid location, then you will have to clean your dabba more often. We recommend once every three months!

Because brass is an alloy of copper and tin, it does develop a patina over time, as it’s exposed to moisture and touch. So the more you use your Dabba, the more you might realize that it needs some TLC every now and then. Just like you season a cast iron pan, you need to begin by rubbing some coconut oil on the Dabba and wiping it down with a clean towel to create a layer of protective coating between the outside and the Dabba. To clean your patinated Dabba, we recommend using Flitz - it’s a chemical cleaning paste that is USDA certified Food Safe. If you would like to use a more natural cleaning method, you can also use our flour & vinegar method. Dabbas might also arrive to you with what looks like slight discoloration; however, this is actually just a byproduct of having a handmade item!

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