Made using 5 whole spices, Panch Phoron (Panch Phoran, Indian Five Spice Blend) is a traditional spice mix that is quintessential in Bengali, Oriya, and Bangladeshi cuisine. It is very easy to make at home using five basic Indian spices (vegan, gluten-free).
About Panch Phoron (Indian Five Spice Blend)
Panch means ‘Five’ and Phoron means ‘Tempering’ in Hindi.
Panch Phoron (Panch Phoran, Indian Five Spice Mix) is essentially a mixture of five aromatic spices (seeds).
This 5 seed mix is widely used in the cuisine of Bangladesh, Eastern India (West Bengal, Assam, Orissa), and Southern Nepal as well.
It is called by different names in different regions, for example, it is known as Padkaune Masala in Nepal, pas phoron in Assam, and & panchu phutana (panch phutana) in Orissa.
To make panch phoron spice mix, the seeds are neither roasted nor ground. They are just mixed together in a specific proportion. This whole spice mix is added to hot oil while tempering a dish and they release all their flavor and aroma in the hot oil making the final dish very flavorful.
This Indian 5-spice is readily available in your nearby grocery stores but you can very easily prepare it at home as well.
Making the panch phoron recipe at home is very economical and you can be sure of the quality of the ingredients used.
This spice mix is vegan and gluten-free and you can easily double or triple the recipe.
Here are some more Indian spice mixes that you can make at home
- Achari Masala
- Tikka Masala Spice
- Sambar Powder
- Thandai Masala Powder
- Kerala Garam Masala Powder
- Chai Masala Powder
This Bengali spice mix uses just 5 ingredients – warming and nutty radhuni (can be replaced with cumin seeds), oniony nigella seeds (kalaunji), licorice-flavored fennel seeds (saunf), spicy and sweet brown mustard seeds (sarson), and bitter fenugreek seeds (methi dana).
Radhuni, known as ajmod in Hindi, is the dried fruit of Trachyspermum Roxburgianum. Grown mostly in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia, it is often confused with ajwain (carom seeds). It is made from the seeds of the radhuni plant, which is a member of the parsley family. Radhuni has a strong, warming, nutty, and pungent flavor and is used as a seasoning for various dishes, including fish, chicken, and vegetables. This seed is believed to have medicinal properties and is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat digestive disorders. It is also said to boost immunity and help in weight loss.
If radhuni is not easily available, you can replace it with cumin seeds as I did.
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Dana)
Fenugreek seeds are small, yellow-brown, bitter-tasting seeds that come from the fenugreek plant. These seeds are known for their medicinal properties and are said to aid in digestion and lower blood sugar levels. They are also used as a natural remedy for various health conditions such as high cholesterol, menopause symptoms, and breast milk production.
Nigella Seeds (Kalonji)
Nigella seeds, also known as onion seeds, black cumin or kalonji, are small, black, triangular-shaped seeds that come from the Nigella sativa plant. They have a unique flavor, with notes of onion, oregano, and black pepper. Nigella seeds have a long history of medicinal use and are believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. They are used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines as well.
Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
Fennel seeds are small, greenish-brown, oblong-shaped seeds that come from the fennel plant. They have a strong, anise-like flavor and aroma, and are commonly used as a spice in cooking, particularly in Indian and Mediterranean dishes. They are also used as a breath freshener after meals. Fennel seeds are believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and digestive properties. They are also used in traditional medicine to relieve menstrual cramps, increase milk flow in breastfeeding women, and treat digestive issues.
Brown Mustard Seeds (Sarson)
Brown mustard seeds are small, hard, round seeds that come from the mustard plant. They are less pungent than their yellow counterpart and have a nutty, earthy flavor. They are also used in Ayurvedic and traditional medicine to aid in digestion and relieve respiratory issues.
How To Make Bengali Panch Phoron
- 2 tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 tablespoon brown mustard seeds (sarson)
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 1 tablespoon radhuni (or cumin seeds)
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
to a medium mixing bowl and mix well using a spoon.
Transfer the spice mix to an airtight jar (or glass bottle) with a tight lid.
Panch Phoran is best stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. If you’re using it within a few months, it can be kept in the pantry. Otherwise, it’s best to store it in the fridge or freezer.
Frequently Asked Questions
A lot of people use equal parts of all the spices in their mix, but I feel that fenugreek, radhuni, and kalonji taste bitter when used in large amounts. Hence, my blend uses a lesser amount of these spices.
Traditionally, paanch phoron is used while preparing chicken or mutton curries, fish, lentils, shukto (cooked vegetables), and pickles. It is added to hot oil to release the aroma of the spices which then gets transferred to the main dish.
Panch Phoron is an integral part of any Bengali style tarkari (stir fries). Be it Aloo, Cauliflower, Parwal, or any Gourd.
Just add a spoonful of this Indian spice blend in hot mustard oil or ghee and let them fry until the seeds start crackling. This technique of tempering spices in oil is called tadka in Hindi. The spluttering of these spices in hot oil releases a very strong aroma.
Do not fry these spices for too long as they have a tendency to get burned really fast.
The methi seeds tend to cook a little faster than the other spices, so keep your next step ready as soon as you add the spices to the oil, so that, you can easily bring down the temperature of the oil and the spices do not end up burning.
Panch Phoran is best stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months.
If you want your panch phoran to last longer, store it in the freezer. It will keep for up to 2 years when stored properly.
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Panch Phoron Recipe (Panch Phoroan, Indian Five Spice Blend)
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds (sarson)
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 1 tablespoon radhuni (replace it with cumin seeds if not available.)
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds (kalonji, onion seeds)
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Store in an airtight jar and use as required.