Panch phoran is a five-seed blend, popular in Bangladesh and Northern India that is not ground. "Panch" means "five" in Bengali, and "phoran" means "spice." The blend, made of equal parts cumin, fennel, nigella, fenugreek and mustard seeds, is nearly synonymous with Bengali cooking. Indeed, according to TarlaDalal.com: "The distinct aroma of Bengali cuisine is mostly due to the blend of spices known as panch phoron." (Tarla Dalal was the Julia Child of India before she died in 2013, but the website she founded is still widely read in India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian countries.)
Though you don't grind the mixture, you almost always will fry panch phoron in ghee or cooking oil before using it in any recipe. Just some of the recipes that make use of this spice blend in include chicken or fish curry, roasted potatoes and even lentils.
- 1 tablespoon cumin (seeds)
- 1 tablespoon fennel (seeds)
- 1 tablespoon nigella (seeds)
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek (seeds)
- Mix all the above in equal quantities
- Store the mixture in an airtight container.