Panch means five, and phoron means flavour or spice. This Indian blend (a.k.a. Bengali five-spice) may include whole fenugreek (methi) seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, anise or fennel seeds, and radhuni or black mustard seeds. (Radhuni are aromatic dried fruits that look like seeds; they are related to ajwain and best in small doses. Called wild celery in English, radhuni may be confused with celery seeds, as well as ajwain seeds or even caraway.) Panch phoron gives Bengali cuisine a distinctive scent. It is used in vegetarian dishes, pickles, fish and some meat curries. You should first fry it in oil or ghee until the spices start to pop – a technique called tempering. About nigella, pg. 153 in 12,167 Kitchen and Cooking Secrets.
12,167 Kitchen and Cooking Secrets
In thousands of entries on every aspect of cooking and baking, Susan Sampson provides expert information that is indispensable in any kitchen, including: keeping produce safe from spoilage, protecting equipment from nasty bacteria, shortcuts, embellishments, restaurant tricks, presentation tips, party planning and recipe development.
Whether just browsing or desperately trying to solve a vexing emergency, every home cook will treasure this book.
Susan Sampson (a.k.a. The Fare Lady) is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer who lives in Toronto.