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Sanjeevani Masala Stores

Let your nose lead you to Sanjeevani, a store that specialises in fresh, grounded spice concoctions. Every day 45-year old Dhananjay Ingalkar opens shop at seven in the morning.

His day begins with cleaning fresh spices bought from the wholesale market in Vashi, then drying, roasting it and finally pounding the spice in various combinations in a creaky, red, pounding machine with six rods. Ingalkar says he can remember the smell of spices pervading his home and memory ever since he was a child.


Ingalkar with the pounding machine. Pics/Shadab Khan.

His cubby-hole store, called Sanjeevani, is stacked with glass jars holding vibrant red, flaming orange, golden yellow and brown hued masalas and was started by his father in 1950.

“Initially, all the spices used to be pound on a stone mortar with an iron and wood pestle,” says Ingalkar. In 1967, a two-rod pounding machine was introduced to the shop, and this was the first of its kind in the city.

Later this was upgraded to the current machine, which has six rods, though the original machine can still be spotted resting in one corner of the shop. Equipped with masters in sociology, Ingalkar never thought he would join the family business.

“I started my career as a community development officer but then suddenly my father and then my brother passed away and the responsibility of continuing the family business fell on my shoulders,” he said.

At Sanjeevani one can find more than 30 varieties of spice mixes ranging from chilli powder to turmeric, cumin, coriander and even the ubiquitous sambar masala, chole masala and biryani masala powder. However the masala that is Ingalkar’s trade secret is his Sunday Masala, which is created by roasting and pounding 27 different spices including three kinds of chillies.

Ingalkar says his father had written down the recipe of every masala that they stock in the store and he has never tampered with the recipe. “Why try and change what is perfect.”

Price: Rs 320 per kg

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