Made using 5 whole spices, Panch Phoron (Panch Phoran) is a traditional spice mix that is quintessential in Bengali cuisine. It is very easy to make at home using five basic Indian spices. Here is how to make it (vegan, gluten-free).
About This Recipe
Panch means ‘Five’ and Phoron means ‘Tempering’. Panch Phoron is essentially a mixture of five spices and is popularly used in Bengali cuisine for tempering various dishes.
Panch Phoran is widely used in the cuisine of Bangladesh, Eastern India, 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 in Orissa.
This Bengali five-spice is readily available in your nearby grocery stores but you can very easily prepare it at home as well. Making the spice mix at home is very economical and you can be sure of the quality of the ingredients used.
This Bengali spice mix uses just 5 ingredients – radhuni, nigella seeds (kalaunji), fennel seeds (saunf), mustard seeds (sarson), and fenugreek seeds (methi dana).
If radhuni is not easily available, you can replace it with cumin seeds like I did.
A lot of people use equal amounts 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.
How To Make Panch Phoron
Add 2 tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf), 2 tablespoon mustard seeds (sarson), 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana), 1 tablespoon radhuni (or cumin seeds), and 1 tablespoon nigella seeds (kalonji) to a medium mixing bowl and mix well using a spoon.
Transfer the spice mix to a glass bottle with a tight lid and store it in a cool dry place. Use it as required.
Frequently Asked Questions
Garam Masala is made by dry roasting whole spices and then grinding them into a fine powder, while for Panch Phoran, you just have to mix five whole spices and store them.
Garam Masala includes various spices such as nutmeg, star anise, mace, black and green cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds, whereas, Panch Phoran only requires five spices.
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.
Radhuni is a spice commonly used in Bengali cuisine. It is made from the seeds of the radhuni plant, which is a member of the parsley family.
The seeds are dried and then ground into a powder. Radhuni has a strong, pungent flavor and is used as a seasoning for various dishes, including fish, chicken, and vegetables. It is also one of the ingredients in panch phoron, a Bengali spice blend.
Radhuni 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.
Traditionally, panch phoron is used while preparing chicken or mutton curry, fish, lentils, shukto (cooked vegetables), and pickles.
Panch Phoron is an integral part of any Bengali style tarkari. Be it Aloo, Cauliflower, parwal, or any gourd, it’s used in the recipe.
Panch Phoron tomato chutney and yellow dal with a tempering of this spice mix are to die for. I also make tok dal using this spice mix.
Just add a spoon of this masala 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.
Also, the fenugreek seeds tend to cook a little faster than the other spices, so keep your next step ready as soon as you add the spices into the oil, so that, you can easily bring down the temperature of the oil and spices do not end up burning.
Panch Phoron 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.
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, Bengali Five Spice)
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds (sarson)
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 1 tablespoon radhuni (replace it with cumin seeds if not available.)
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds (kalaunji)
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Store in an airtight jar and use as required.