Panch Phoran ~ Bengali Spice Mix

>>  Thursday, July 5, 2012

Panch phoran is a classic Bengali spice blend typically consisting of five spices in equal measure. From what I hear, this is also used widely in Orissa and Bihar. Panch Phoran also known as panch phoron, panch puran, panchpuran, punch puram, punchpuram

The five spices that make up Panch Phoran are:

Mustard seed or (rai or shorshe)
Fennel seed (saunf or mouri)
Fenugreek (methi)
Cumin seed (jira)
Nigella seed (kalonji)

It's also said that another spice called radhuni is used in place of mustard seeds. However since these seeds are not widely available, it's mostly mustard that's used.
Panch phoran
Panch phoran
Sandeepa explains in her post much better about this spice blend, where she says this spice blend is never ground or used as a powder. If you are making this spice blend, be sure to check her post for recipes that uses this blend.

Though this spice blend is never added as a powdered form to curries or other dishes, dry roasted panch phoran is ground and used for sprinkling on chutneys. Paanch is five in hindi & Bengal and Phoron refers to spices in Bengali. Panch phoran is used mainly for tempering, to flavor the hot oil before adding rest of the ingredients.

Panch phoron is added to the hot cooking oil before adding any other ingredients thus flavouring the oil and releasing the aroma of the seeds and causing them to pop in the pan. At this point the other ingredients are added.

You can easily make this at home yourself if you have all the five spices on hand. Take all the spices in equal measures, except for methi as it turns bitter when added more. 

I mixed the spices in the below proportion:

Mustard seed - 1 tsp
Fennel seed - 1 tsp
Cumin seed - 1 tsp
Nigella seed - 1 tsp
Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp

As I always think, the culinary expansion depends on how much a particular ingredient is popularized. Same as Panch phoran, we have a similar spice blend in south that's common for tempering. I am not sure about other households, but I have always seen Amma having different spice blends ready for use.

South Indian spice blend that I shared many years ago, showcases what we use for making Sambar. Amma also had a similar one mixed for dals, tamarind base gravies etc.

The Whole Spice Blend For Tempering made in south India for Sambar has the following spices

Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal (whole or split) - 3/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 3/4 tsp
Methi - 1/4 tsp

Amma adds channa dal to the above, whereas I don't.

This reminds me that I may have to do another post with the different spice blends we make..:) 

For recipes made with this panch phoran, come back next week!


Kavi July 5, 2012 at 12:34 PM  

i've been looking for this. thanks!

Priya July 5, 2012 at 1:31 PM  

I dont prepare them in bulk, flavourful spice mix definitely.

PJ July 5, 2012 at 2:59 PM  

I had this ready for week 4!Now got to do something else!No probs dear.This surely is a flavorful mix of spices.

Suja Manoj July 5, 2012 at 8:25 PM  

Useful post,thanks for sharing.

Chef Mireille July 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM  

I love this spice mix

sushma July 6, 2012 at 2:10 AM  

NIce powder

sushma July 6, 2012 at 2:12 AM  

NIce and flavorful spices

vaishali sabnani July 6, 2012 at 7:48 AM  

Recently I spotted the ready mix in Reliance super market...until hen I used to prepare it myself..I also add some dry red chilly to it.

Champa July 6, 2012 at 8:12 AM  

I can't understand why people buy this mix when they can mix it up themselves.

Suma Gandlur July 6, 2012 at 8:49 AM  

Kalonji is one spice I have never used.
I use the same ones you mentioned under South Indian tempering.

rekhas kitchen July 6, 2012 at 12:22 PM  

I like to use this mixture in some typical Bengali dishes and specialy with potato.

Jayanthi July 7, 2012 at 4:26 AM  

Very good information and nice to know that other cusines also have similar spice seasoning as ours. Nice one Valli.

Gayathri Kumar July 7, 2012 at 2:47 PM  

I have used this mix in gravies. It tastes wonderful. Thanks for the info...

Pavani July 8, 2012 at 6:19 AM  

Love panch phoron. I think I especially like the addition of fennel and nigella seeds that are not usually used in South Indian cooking.

Cool Lassi(e) July 9, 2012 at 7:59 AM  

Although I have heard of it and maybe even tasted it in some dish in a restaurant, I have never used this mix in any dish before. Looks easy enough to be making it at home.

veena krishnakumar July 9, 2012 at 10:11 PM  

Got to learn one more spice mix.

notyet100 March 5, 2013 at 6:44 AM  

thanks a ton for the recipe,..;-)

Anonymous July 2, 2015 at 3:41 PM  

Thank you for the detailed post for punch photon.

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