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Gift suggestion for a Middle East/Indian cook?

My nephew's wife has gotten heavily into Middle Eastern and Far East Indian cooking, and I'd like to get her some kind of kitchen appliance as a Christmas gift (she has a LOT of cookbooks). The first thing that came to mind was a tagine, the problem being they live in a small apartment with little storage and that's the kind of thing that takes up space and can only be used for one very limited purpose.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Willing to spend up to $100 or so.

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  1. You are very thoughtful. I think a nice spice box (masala dabba) is probably more practical because middle eastern and Indian foods do use a lot of spice and it is really useful for other situations. In addition, a spice box is to save space and not take up space, so that solve your concern. The problem is: she may already have one.

    I mean something like this, but not specifically this:

    I think they look beautiful with spices in it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Got this nice indian spice box, masala dabba, yesterday from a friend. Organized my spices inside. Now it is my special aroma therapy box (!). It is definitely a good gift. I am very pleased.


    2. She would surely welcome a gift certificate to Kalustyan's, one of the great purveyors of ME/FE cooking equipment & spices. They have *everything*!


      1. I'm not sure if you can get a decent one for $100, but I would think a pressure cooker would lend itself well to this type of cooking, and it's an all-around excellent time-saving device for anyone who cooks a lot.

        1. I cook Middle Eastern food a lot, and I think that the Kalustyans suggestions is spot on.

          1. These are both great suggestions ... in fact, I may end up doing both!

            4 Replies
            1. re: maxzook

              :) There are actually three suggestions.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                And thus the mystery ... which one is he *not* doing? ;p

                1. re: maxzook

                  Ha ha ha. You are funny. Anyway, have fun shopping for your nephew wife. Maybe if you buy her a really great gift, she will constantly invite you to sample her cooking from hereafter.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Given that I live in L.A. and she lives in Columbus, OH, the invitation would be unlikely (although appreciated in spirit).

            2. I would suggest a spice grinder if she doesn't already have one. Here is a well-recommended grinder:


              4 Replies
              1. re: Eivuwan

                I have exactly that one and I used that exactly for grinding my spices, like coriander seeds. Except mine is in white. I wanted black, but there were only the white ones in Bed Bath and Beyond and I wanted to use my coupon....

                Good suggestiong -- if she does not already have one.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  In addition to any of the wonderful suggestions, I'd suggest one of Diana Abu-Jaber's books. "Crescent" is a beautiful novel, "The Language of Baklava" is a memoir - food and cooking are central to both, with many recipes in the latter. After reading "Crescent" I HAD to find ( not so easy in rural AZ) and cook freekeh which was central to the love story.

                  1. re: janeh


                    Won't giving your nephew's wife a "romance" book be, you know, strange? :)

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Ah, not at all, Chemicalkinetics - it may well prove to be inspiring (said the old married lady!).

              2. How about a grape leave roller


                I do a lot of Middle Eastern cooking and there are not a lot of gadgets that are needed. A coffee grinder for spices will work fine. Pretty inexpensive but some thing to hollow out squash or other vegetables to be stuffed.