Have you ever wondered what makes those Bengali or North Eastern dishes so distinct?
It is the extra hint of the Panch Phoran (5 Spices).
We’re sure the next question on your mind is what is Panch Phoron and what makes it so distinct. Read on, and know more about this gift of East India to the world.
What is Panch Phoran?
Panch Phoron literally means ‘five spices’ in Bengali. It is a very common spice found in Bangladeshi, Bhojpuri and Maithili, Bengali, Oriya, and Assamese kitchens.
This flavorful spice mix is made by mixing equal parts of 5 whole spices – Methi Seeds, Kalonji Seeds, Cumin, Black Mustard Seeds and Green Fennel Seeds.
The spice mix is mildly bittersweet, packed with nutty flavors and a lot of warmth.
Why is it distinct from most Indian spice blends?
Most Indian spice blends are roasted and powdered. However, Panch Phoron is one unique spice mix that is preferable used in its whole form.
Moreover, each spice in the blend adds significant value to enhance one’s digestive system. As we all know, every Indian spice blend is wisely crafted to aid the well-being of mind and body.
Ways to use Panch Phoron
It is a simple yet palatable spice mix; and is used in various ways.
One can fry the spice mix in ghee or oil before adding other ingredients.
It can also be dry roasted and coarsely ground and used as a dry rub for paneer or potatoes.
It can be ground into a fine paste and enjoy it as a chutney.
Some people even use the spice mix as a garnish for curries and dals.
Famous delicacies made in Panch Phoran
Aloo Sukhto – Potato stir fried in mustard oil and Panch Phoran
Echor Kosha – Classic Bengali Jackfruit Curry tempered with Panch Phoran
Panch Phoran Tarkari – Panch Phoran Tarkari is a scrumptious mixed vegetable dish from Mizoram seasoned with the Panch Phoran.
Labra – Labra is a medley of vegetables cooked in an onion-ginger-garlic-red chili paste and tempered with Panch Phoran.