Panch Phoron or the Bengali Five Spice is a blend of aromatic seeds – fennel, mustard, nigella, fenugreek and cumin seeds.
I am sharing lots of Bengali recipes these days so thought let me share a very common spice mix recipe. A distinct spice blend that is common in any Bengali household is the panch phoron. This Bengali Five spice mix or ‘panch phoron‘, as we call it is used for tempering and mostly used for the vegetarian dishes – yes we eat a lot of vegetables too.
What is the meaning of Panch Phoron?
Quite literally it means Five Tempering Spice. Panch = Five, Phoron = Tempering Spice
This spice mix is aromatic and colorful. We use the panch phoron as whole spice for tempering the oil. So if you are wondering how the classic bengali recipes of shukto, chochchori, kancha amer chutney have a distinct taste to them – they all come from this fragrant panch phoron.
How to use Panch Phoron or Bengali Five Spice Mix?
Like I said earlier, we use this as whole spices rather than a powdered form. Panch phoron is usually fried in oil or ghee, as tempering. And we add vegetables to this tempered oil. When you add these seeds in hot oil you can be sure of the amazing sputtering and popping sound of the seeds. This is how the aroma of the seeds gets released in the oil and makes it so flavoursome.
You can use this spice mix as tempering for vegetables, fish, lentils, chutneys and many more.
How to make panch phoron?
In Kolkata, you will find the humble panch phoron in every grocery shop. The problem arises when you step out of Kolkata or Bengal and are residing in . different city / country. There are chances many haven’t even heard of panch phoron. I had a hard timing explaining my local grocery shop what i meant by panch phoron. I was so tired of searching for it that I decided to make it myself.
Now, however, there are many speciality stores in Bangalore that sell regional foods and groceries and you will find panch phoron in those stores. But then, when you can make a batch yourself, why bother searching for it!
This spice mix has a colorful blend of green fennel seeds, black mustard and nigella seeds, yellow fenugreek and brown cumin seeds. You can make some variations here by adding yellow or white mustard instead of black mustard seeds.
- nigella seeds - 3 tbsp
- black mustard seeds - 3 tbsp
- fenugreek seeds - 3 tbsp
- fennel seeds - 3 tbsp
- cumin seeds - 3 tbsp
- Combine all the spices in a jar.
- Store away from heat and light.
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