[Most popular and typically use Mouri (Fennel seed)]
mix of 5 spice is a MUST HAVE for a Bengali kitchen! Its a flavor
explosion when added to any dish at the end of the cooking process or
to fry veggies and fish with. When these are tempered, it will fill you
with a strong earthy and spicy aroma thats just beautiful. What exactly
is in this fantastic spice mix?
It is a mix of 5 whole spices, usually consisting of the following. Substitutions are sometimes made based on region.
Most recipes say to use equal
portions of all but, this recipe of proportions is from the Bengali
cookbook Khado, Ranna and Pusti by Siddiqua Kabir first published in
1978. So, thats what I am going by. The use of mustard seed in place of
fennel is my personal choice, the book and typical Panch Phoron uses
fennel. I don't really like the taste of fennel seeds in different
foods so I use mustard instead.
I was working this post I
wondered, that there must be some ancient wisdom at work as to why
these particular 5 spices are put together. Whether medicinal value or
religious or otherwise...so I have been asking around and doing some
research online. So far, people around me don't seem to have the
vaguest idea except to point out the traditional spices, perhaps I am
just asking the wrong persons. I have found different medicinal uses
for each spice, perhaps that's all there was to it!
Well, I am
going to continue with the research of these very ancient of spices and
its uses in Bengali cooking. The posts will be individual and a link
back from this one. I am excited to do this research and bring to you a
somewhat comprehensive understanding of the histories and uses of each
of the spices.
For now, enjoy cooking with Paanch Phoron. It remains in whole form and tempered or Tadka.
a tsp. or 2 of oil (most typically mustard oil) and add a tsp. of
Paanch Phoron. Gently roast it - be careful because it will splutter!
About 30 seconds is enough to release the aromas and oils. This can be
added in the end of cooking a daal or just throw in some potatoes with
onions and stir fry.