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.
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...
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.