Panch phoron is a Bengal (or rather Bengali and Oriya) classic mixture of dry whole five spices mixed in equal proportions.
In previous days, all the spices came separate and they were mixed in equal proportions to make "panch phoron". These days readymade panch phoron is available in shops / groceries.
The five spices that make up the Panch Phoron are:
- Fennel seed (saunf / mouri): the greenish, puffy & sweet type
- Fenugreek (methi): the golden coloured bitter type
- Cumin seed (jeera): the buff colored type
- Nigella seed (kalonji / kalo jeera): the jet black tiny one
- Mustard seed or (rai or shorshe): the black or brown flavored type
Somtimes a spice called radhuni is used in place of mustard seed. Panch Phoran is used as whole spices for athentic Bengali Cuisine, first sauted in hot oil before adding rest of the ingredients.
In several dishes, Panch phoron is roasted (dry, without oil) on a tawa and ground to make a powder which is sprinkled on top of the dishes (like raw mango chutney and sukto).
Tip: If Panch Phoran is not available, I buy all the five spices separately and just mix a little amount (equal proportions) from each spices to make Panch Phoran.