Panch Phoran: Bengali Panch Phoran Recipe

Panch Phoran Recipe, Panch Phoron, Bengali Panch Phoran Recipe

Panch Phoran, Panch Phoron or Panch Masala literally means a blend of 5 Spices. This 5 spice mixture is used in Bengali Cuisine for making dishes like Shukto, Tarkari, Tarkari Dal and other vegetable dishes.

This 5 spice blend look pretty colorful and attractive. Unlike, Garam Masala where the spices are powdered, in Panch Phoran, the spices are not powdered but used whole. Of course, Garam Masala makes use of different spices than the ones used in Panch Phoron.

The spices are gently fried in oil.. till they pop and this mixture is added to the dal or vegetable. This technique of frying in India is also known as tadka/chaunk/vaghar. The frying of these spices releases strong aroma and flavors in the oil.

Generally in a tadka, the spices and the oil mixture is added to the dal or vegetable dish. However, alternatively, you could also fry the spices in the ghee/oil. Remove the spices after they pop up and release their flavor and aroma in the oil. Add this oil to the dish. Personally, I add the entire tadka…… all spices and oil to the dish. You could easily make your own Panch Phoron at home.

The five spices or ingredients that are used for Panch Phoran are:

1: Cumin Seeds

panch phoran - cumin seeds jeera

2: Onion Seeds also known as Nigella Seeds (Kalonji)

panch phoran - onion seeds nigella kalonji

3: Black Mustard Seeds ( Rai )

panch phoran - Black Mustard Seeds Rai

4: Fennel Seeds ( Saunf)

panch phoran - fennel aniseeds saunf

5: Fenugreek Seeds ( Methi )

panch phoran - fenugreek seeds methi dana

On the internet for the Panch Phoran recipe, you will find that equal quantities of the above five spices need to be mixed for the Panch Phoran. But in one bengali recipe book which I have, the authors have mentioned a slight different ratio for the Fenugreek seeds. I think thats because its bitter and thats why they have included less proportion of Fenugreek seeds.

Here is the recipe for Panch Phoran:

Panch Phoran Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Panch Phoran, Panch Phoron or Panch Masala literally means a blend of 5 Spices.
Cuisine: Bengali
Serves: 1 small bottle
  • 2 tbsp Cumin Seeds ( Jeera )
  • 2 tbsp Onion Seeds/Nigella Seeds ( Kalonji )
  • 2 tbsp Black Mustard Seeds ( Rai )
  • 2 tbsp Fennel Seeds ( Saunf)
  • 1 tbsp Fenugreek Seeds ( Methi )
  1. Mix all the spices and store them in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place. Shake the jar before each use to make sure the spices are evenly distributed.

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  1. asha saxena says

    thanks dear for your nice and prompt reply.musterd is a must for panch phoron. even in bengali pickle panch phoron is used. either whole in smoky oil at the begining or coarsely grounded at the end. you can try. pui shaak is very very and very tasty indeed. in bengali there is a proverb ,( macher modhye rui, shaaker modhye pui and manuser modhye tui aar mui) which means , ruhi is the best fish, pui is the best shaak and i and you are the best in human race. thanks again. regards and best wishes.

    • says

      thanks asha. okay, so mustard seeds is paired with radhuni, fennel, fenugreek and nigella seeds. right and jeera is not added? let me know. pui shaak or malabar spinach is one of the favorite veggies at home. i have never tried any bengali recipe with it. usually i cook it in mangalorean style. loved the proverb.

  2. asha saxena says

    i am just fan of your blog. have learnt and prepared some dishes which wear great.just now while surfing bengali cuisine, got panch phoron., where found cumin seed (jeera). with all my humbleness would like to inform you that jeera is not the part of it, rather a spice named randhuni ( very tiny seeds, next to dust you can say) is used. it has a unique flavour. beside panch phoron it is also used in some other bengali dishes, either whole or paste as per required. if you please give me your postal add: i will send you it. though i am an by marriage but by birth i am a Bengali. since you can clarify it. thanks . Regards and best wishes.

    • says

      thanks asha. i know about radhuni. i have given mustard as a substitute for radhuni. as at the time i wrote this post, about 5 years ago, i did not have radhuni. i would add mustard or ajwain instead of radhuni, then. i believe jeera/cumin seeds is a part of panch phoran. thanks for being kind to send me the radhuni. i have a bengali neighbor who was kind enough to share with me some radhuni seeds and pui shaak seeds, which i have planted in my balcony garden. i will be taking new pics as i have radhuni seeds now and will take pics too of it. i have to update this post as well.

  3. trueworth says

    i came across your blog looking for a recipe for paanch phoran. i cant find any fenygreek seeds, only powder. can i use that? how much powder should i use?

    • dassana says

      avoid using fenugreek powder. there will be a remarkable difference in taste with fenugreek powder. it can make the whole dish bitter if not used in the correct amount. if you do not get fenugreek seeds anywhere and have no option but to use the powdered fenugreek, then just add a pinch to any recipe which has 3-4 servings.

    • trueworth says

      thank you for your help! i have another question: is there a big difference between fresh and dry curry leaves? is there a substitute?

      • dassana says

        there is not much difference. but using fresh curry leaves is exactly like using fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme) instead of dry herbs.

        freshness of any herbs or veggies be it curry leaves or anything lends a fresh flavorful and aromatic value to the food. but if you don’t have fresh curry leaves available, dry curry leaves come in handy.

  4. Smriti says

    Panch forong also used In bengali achar, Tomato, imli achar and sukto.

    One spoon panchforong fry dry as long it start spurting then crush well as powder then put on above itemes after takeing out of fire, gives good smell.

    • says

      thats right smriti…. panch phoran is used in many bengali dishes likes the ones you have mentioned. thats a great tip you have given smriti. i am sure it will lend a nice aroma to the food. i would also try this tip. thanks smriti…..