Panch phoron (Bengali five-spice) recipe.
What is Panch Phoron
Panch phoron is a blend of five whole spices and is the most commonly used spice blend in Bengali vegetarian dishes. The spices used are mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, and fennel seeds. These spices are mixed together in equal proportion to make this simple five-spice blend. It is also widely used in Bihar, northeastern states, Nepal and Bangladesh.
These spices are left whole in the spice blend. Depending on the dish that it is being used in, they are either tempered in ghee/oil or dry roasted and ground into a powder. Irrespective of how it is used, it gives a wonderful flavour and aroma to the dish.
To make panch phoron, combine equal proportions of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds and fennel seeds. Store it in an air-tight container away from direct sunlight and use it as needed.
Cumin seeds: Cumin seeds are dried seeds of the herb Cuminum cyminum, which belongs to the parsley family.
Mustard seeds: Mustard is a spice that is very common in south Indian cooking. These tiny seeds come in two varieties – black and yellow mustard. Black mustard seeds are commonly used and are more pungent and stronger than yellow mustard seeds.
Nigella seeds: Nigella seeds are tiny black seeds very similar to poppy seeds. They have a slight bitterness to them and an associated onion flavour.
Fennel seeds: Fennel seeds look very similar to cumin seeds and is widely used as a spice in Indian cooking. It adds a very unique flavour to the dish and is used both as a whole spice and in powdered form.
Fenugreek seeds: Fenugreek is used as both herb and spice. Fresh fenugreek leaves are used as a herb and are added to dal, stir-fry, and rice. Fenugreek seeds are used as a dried spice. They have a slightly bitter and pungent taste.
Benefits of these spices
Each of these spices has its own set of health benefits. Cumin seeds aid digestion and are traditionally used to cure indigestion. Mustard seeds are rich in a nutrient called selenium, known for its high anti-inflammatory effects. They are also rich in magnesium. Nigella seeds are packed with antioxidants and can aid in blood sugar regulation. Fennel seeds are well known to aid digestion. They are even consumed after a meal for this very reason. Fenugreek seeds are well-known for their use to regulate blood sugar levels. These spices combined together not only elevates the taste of the dish but also increases the health benefits.
Recipes to try
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- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp nigella seeds
- 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- Combine all the ingredients well
- Store in an air-tight container away from direct sunlight