Panch Phora is a colorful blend of flavorful seeds: the green of fennel seed, brown mustard and nigella seeds, golden fenugreek and buff-colored cumin seeds.
Panch Phora (five-spice mix) is a spice blend used in Bangladesh and Eastern India, especially in Bengali, Assamese, and Oriya cuisine. Panch Phora is a special blend of five seed spices that should not be confused with Chinese Five Spice Powder.
Panch Phora seeds are typically fried in cooking oil which causes it to start popping immediately. This technique of “tempering” the seeds is called "phoron" in the Bengali language.
At this point, the other ingredients are added to coat with the spice mixture. The distinct aroma of Bengali cuisine is mostly due to the Panch Phora blend of spices which help to bring forward the flavors of vegetables, beef, fish or lentils.
Whole, the spices will work well on vegetables and this quick and simple Panch Phora Potatoes dish makes an excellent companion to roasted chicken, a grilled steak, rack of lamb or to a stew in place of rice.
Crushed Panch Phora matches well with cheese, eggs, fish, game, lamb, pork, poultry, salad, sausages, soup, steaks, strawberries and tomatoes.
Finely crushed Panch Phora can be prepared by roasting the whole spices and then crushing them into fine powder. A blender may be used, however care should be taken to avoid grounding the spices into too fine powder. The finely crushed Panch Phora are used for marinades or stews or soups.
Coarsely crushed Panch Phora is achieved by roasting the whole spices, cooling them and then crushing them coarsely in a hand held spice miller.
Avoid purchasing pre ground or crushed Panch Phora, because its volatile aromatic notes quickly dissipate and what's left is single-dimensional hotness. Whole Panch Phora should be heavy, compact and free of any blemishes.
Herbie’s Spices including Panch Phora, are organically grown and has not been irradiated.
Apart from imparting a unique flavor and taste, the five types of spices used in Panch Phora have significant health benefits which include:
The presence of cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, important factors in proper digestion and nutrient assimilation. As with other carminative spices, cumin's digestive stimulating effects are due to its content of volatile oils.
Mustard is a good source of selenium and magnesium and is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, protein, niacin and dietary fiber.
The seeds of the fenugreek plant are known to be great cleansers of the system and those of fennel acts as a digestive, appetite enhancer.
Kalonji seeds have been known to have many healing properties including migraine, chronic colds, palpitations, alopecia, asthma.