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Petpujo and Adda

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My Spices

Panch Phoron
It is an integral part of Bengali cooking. However, Oriya (Orissa) food and Assamese food use panch phoron as well. Panch is five in Bengali and Phoron is spices- -five spices/panch phoron are mainly used for tempering the  hot oil with the flavor of the spices before adding rest of the ingredient.  It is used mostly in vegetable and fish dishes.  My mother cooks a mutton dish where she uses panch phoron. Panch phoron is usually used in whole form and dry roasted and ground panch phoron is used in Shukto and some chutneys. I use a lot of panch phoron for daily food, like masoor dal (yellow lentil), pan meshali sobji (mixed vegetable Bengali style), alu bean bhaja (potato and bean stir-fry) to name the few.

1-tablespoon cumin/jeera
1-tablespoon Nigella Seed/ Kalo jeera/Kalonji
1-tablespoon fenugreek/ methi
1-tablespoon fennel seed/mouri/ saunf
1-tablespoon black mustard seed/ shorshe/ rai

 Note : some people use radhuni instead of mustard seed. However, I am not sure if you get radhuni outside Bengal. You might get them in C.R park market in Delhi though. I once brought from market one. But in UK I get them from kolkata.
Mix all the price and tah dah, its ready! Store in an airtight jar.

 Madras Curry Powder
1-tablespoon cumin seed
1-tablespoon coriander seed
¼-tablespoon fenugreek
½-tablespoon fennel
½ - tablespoon ground ginger
5 cloves
2 dry red chili (add more depending on your taste)
5 black paper corns
2 bay leaf
2-inch cinnamon
1-tablespoon turmeric powder

Keep the heat very low and use a skillet. Place cumin seed, coriander seed, fenugreek, feel, cloves, dry red chili, black paper corns, bay leaf, and cinnamon in the skillet. Dry roast them slowing, shaking/ stirring the spices until they begin to pop and the aroma of the spice comes alive. Careful not to burn so constantly stir.
Remove from the hot skillet so that the heat of skillet does not burn the roasted spice. Add turmeric and ginger powder.Pour into a dry blender or food processor, or use a mortar and pestle. Grind into a fine powder. Pour into a clean, dry jar, seal, and let it cool before using.

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