I love the anjaraipetti (box with 5 spaces) that my mom gave me. It's a really useful item in my kitchen set up. A lot of my friends look at the recipes that I post and say they look good but seem very complicated. The key to easy cooking is having a well stocked kitchen. Cooking is no fun if you have nothing at home and you have to start by making a long trip to multiple stores. If you really want to cook South Indian food, start with an anjaraipetti! That is get these basic spices. My version of the spice box has grown to include a few other key ingredients.
. Urad Daal, Skinned and split black lentils
3. Channa Daal, Chickpea Lentil
4. Milagai Vetral, Dried Red Chillis
5. Milagu, Whole Black Peppercorns
6. Dhania , Coriander Seeds
7. Kadugu, Mustard Seeds
8, Jeera, Cumin Seeds (centre)
The spices in bold would be the ones you'd find in the traditional anjaraipetti. If you keep these, a jar of asafetida and some curry leaves on hand, you'll be able to whip up many South Indian dishes easily.