Sep 9, 2008

Spice Mix #1: Panch Phoron

Where would our food be without spices? It wouldn't be in my house, that's for sure. I love flavor. I love experimenting and layering flavors. Indian food is rich with flavor layers and I love trying new recipes. An Indian spice blend I really like is Panch Phoron. It's composed of five whole spices in equal measure:

Nigella seed
Fenugreek seed
Cumin seed
Fennel seed
Brown mustard seed

There are a few variations on the ingredients but the list above is typical. As for the spelling, there are many variations but each is recognizable. No matter how you spell it, it's delicious. You can use the mix as whole spices, usually dropping the seeds into hot oil for a few seconds until they pop, before adding the next ingredients into the pan. Or you can grind it before you season a dish. Sometimes I toast the whole seeds in a dry skillet and then grind them before using. I can't claim that I know exactly which recipes panch phoron is traditionally used with but I love to use it with potato dishes or roasted vegetables. Have you tried panch phoron? If so, in what dishes?

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