Translating to “5 spice”, this blend is an essential one to add to your cooking repertoire as it is the backbone to so many dishes from Bengali cuisine.
Unlike most West Asian spice blends, Panch Phoron is not spicy in any way as it does not contain chilli, paprika or anything else that would lend spice. This colourful, whole spice blend is used at the very first step of cooking to flavour the oil before adding anything else, although it is equally brilliant ground and used as a BBQ rub for fish and meat.
Bangladesh is a Delta country, resulting in Bengalis enjoy a diet that is rich in fish and seafood. Panch Phoron sings in complete harmony with fish dishes thanks to the the aniseedy quality of fennel, the pepperiness of black mustard seeds, the earthy hum of cumin and the smokiness of nigella seeds. With its distinctively pungent and nutty flavour, Panch Phoran is a versatile blend the also goes very well with vegetables, legumes and meat and is widely used in pickle making.