Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Panch Phora


Panch Phora (also known as Panch Phoran, Panch Phoron, Panch Puran, Panch Puram, Punch Puram and Bengali Five-spice!) is an Indian spice blend made up of equal quantities of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and nigella seeds. In Bengali, Panch Phoron is said to mean "five spices". It's most commonly used in fish and vegetable dishes and usually added to the oil to impart it's aromatics.

panch phora© by Haalo

When I've used it in the past it's been a pre-made version but one of my latest cookbooks called "Spice It" opened my eyes to its simple nature - so now I'm making my own. I have mentioned my love of potatoes so when I saw a recipe that involved potatoes and panch phora I just had to make it. Anyway, how could you resist something that looked like this...


Spiced Potatoes

500g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon panch phora
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 red onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

Par-cook the potato cubes in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, and dry with paper towels.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the panch phoron, ground cumin, ground turmeric and chilli powder and cook over a medium heat until fragrant. Add the onions and cook until onion has softened and lightly browned.

Add the potatoes and garlic and stir well ensuring they are well coated in spice. Continue cooking for 15-20 minutes until potato is cooked through and golden.


This was an excellent companion to roasted chicken.


  1. Hi,
    Excellect picture.

  2. Hi Vineela - Thank you!

  3. The potatoes look & sound divine

  4. Looks delish. So the Nigella seeds are the black ones? I have a recipe for them but have never seen them in a market.

  5. Hi Ange - it's a nice change from the more usual ways to serve potatoes - plus there's lovely aromas drifting through the house as you cook em, certainly creates an appetite

    Hi Susan - yep the black seeds are Nigella seeds, they might also be labelled Onion seed or Black Cumin Seeds or even Black sesame seeds

  6. Hi, I cooked this dish 2 x in less then a week. My husband and I love the taste. I got the recipe from a cook book. The first time it turned right, but tonight, the fenugreek seeds were very bitter when I bit it. Could you advise me why this could happen? Thank you in advance =)

  7. Hi Anon - fenugreek does go bitter when cooked for too long - perhaps you used a higher heat or cooked the fenugreek a little too long. I really can't give you a more detailed answer as I don't know what recipe you made.

  8. hi i am really confused with black mustard seed and black cumin seed are they same?

  9. Hi Khaleda - they are not the same. Black cumin seeds are also known as Nigella seeds. Nigella seeds are from the Ranucula family.
    Mustard seeds come from mustard plants - mustard plants belong to the Brassica family.


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