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Panch Phoran is a Bengali spice mixture used to provide a base flavoring to many Indian recipes. The flavors drift from one to another with each bite, giving the spices a chance to surprisingly show the unique flavor rather than disappearing in a blur of spices ground together. The spices themselves are commonly found in Indian markets (at a much better price as well!), although some high end supermarkets may have them, provided their shelf space allows it. If you cannot find your spices there, I strongly suggest buying on the internet.
- Mix seeds and store in an airtight container. Do NOT grind them before storage or cooking (they are used whole).
- When using in a recipe, add the mixed seeds into a pan with ghee or cooking oil.
- When they sizzle and pop a little bit, begin adding the other ingredients to the pan.
I use a similar recipe based on Bengali Panch Phoron from Jill Norman's book, The complete Book of Spices. A difference is that this recipe calls for "black mustard seeds" and Jill's calls for "mustard seeds". Jill Norman's recipe "METHOD" stops after the first step of this recipe. Instead, she continues, "This mix of whole spices comes from Bengal in the east of India, where it is used to flavor pulses and vegetable dishes. It may be put into hot oil to perfume it before other ingredients are added, or it is used to spice the ghee that is poured over a dish of lentils as it is served."
I made one third of this recipe to use in Cauliflower Dal With Panch Phoron and it was quite delicious in that application. Now I am on a quest to find more recipes that use this delicious mixture.
I wrote a review and rated it earlier today, but it posted without my comments so I'm adding another. I am addicted to this - the taste and the smell! Yummmm. Now I find myself sprinkly this on almost everything that passes through my kitchen! I found the seeds in our Chinatown. Lovely stuff, thanks Sue, BB