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
2: Onion Seeds also known as Nigella Seeds (Kalonji)
3: Black Mustard Seeds ( Rai )
4: Fennel Seeds ( Saunf)
5: Fenugreek Seeds ( Methi )
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:
- 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 )
- 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.