Panch Phoron

Bengali panch phoron is a seed mix of equal quantity of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mustard (black and yellow), and nigella, with a bittersweet anise flavor. This mix is used without grinding the seeds.

Try this exotic spice mix in three selected recipes:

  • Shukto
  • Panch Phoron Chicken
  • Purple Panch Phoron
Panch Phoron
Bengali Shukto

Bengali Shukto

Shukto is a must on any festive Bengali dinner menu. It has a slight bitterness balanced with the sweetness of sugar. If you are not up for this, try a Panch Phoron recipe from our website. Panch Phoron is a Bengali five-spice blend. It's always used whole. The seeds are fried in oil until they pop and release their aromatic flavor.
hands-on time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Bengali
Servings 3 servings


Shopping list

  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large turnip see notes
  • 1 medium zucchini or squash
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 cup milk
  • oil
  • sugar
  • salt and pepper


  • 1 lb chicken thighs or breast cut into 1-inch pieces

Suggested Sides

  • cooked rice recommended: Basmati
  • flat bread naan or chapati

Culinary Spice Kit

  • [1] Panch Phoron Cumin, fennel, fenugreek, brown and yellow mustard, nigella
  • [2] Yellow and brown mustard, ajowan, bay leaves



  • If using rice, cook rice according to package instructions.


  • Cut all vegetables into bite-size pieces.


  • In a large PAN, heat 6 tbsp oil.
  • Add Shukto [1] spices and ginger. Stir-fry 30 seconds until seeds start to pop.
  • Optional: Add chicken and salt to taste. Fry until all sides turn slightly brown.
  • Add potato, turnip, and salt to taste. Fry until they turn slightly brown.
  • Add all remaining vegetables and salt to taste. Fry until they turn slightly brown.


  • In a small CUP, dissolve Shukto [2] spices in 2 tbsp of water.
  • Add this spice paste and 1 cup of milk to the PAN. Cover. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes until vegetables and optional chicken are cooked.
  • Add 1-3 tsp sugar to taste.
  • Serve with rice or bread. Enjoy!



Substitute turnip with daikon or 1 bunch radish.
Substitute one of the vegetables with 1 plantain or 1 sweet potato.
Bengali Panch Phoron

Panch Phoron

Panch phoron is an Indian spice blend from five whole seeds. It includes fenugreek which is known as an essential ingredient to Indian curry blends. The seeds are always used whole. They are fried in oil until they pop, or can be used as a spice rub.
This is a simple recipe for fried chicken. Alternatively, the aromatic oil from step 1 can be used as the base for a fried vegetable dish.
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Bengali
Servings 3


  • 1 lb chicken legs, thighs, wings
  • 5 medium tomatoes quartered
  • 4 cups basmati rice cooked or steamed
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • limes or lemons
  • oil or ghee
  • salt

Panch Phoron Culinary Spice Kit

  • [1] Brown & yellow mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, nigella
  • [2] Kashmiri chili


Step 1

  • In a PAN, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Fry Panch Phoron [1] spices until they begin to pop.
  • Add ginger and garlic.
  • Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.

Step 2

  • Add chicken and salt to taste.
  • Stir-fry chicken over high heat for about 5 minutes until all sides turn brown.

Step 3

  • Add tomatoes.
  • Add salt and Panch Phoron [2] spices to taste.
  • Cover and cook over low heat for about 10-20 minutes until tomatoes fall apart and the chicken is cooked.


  • Serve the panch phoron chicken on rice with lime wedges.
  • Enjoy!


  • Substitute chicken with fish filet, shrimp, or tofu.
  • For a vegetarian version, substitute chicken with  garbanzo beans, potatoes, and mixed root vegetables.
  • Optionally, season the rice with turmeric.

Purple Panch Phoron

Cuisine Bengali


Shopping list

  • 1 little purple cauliflower
  • 1 Asian eggplant
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice optional
  • salt


  • 1.5 tsp of panch phoron seed mix
  • 0.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp chili flakes optional


  • Cut cauliflower eggplant in 1-inch pieces.
  • Chop onion.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a PAN and stir-fry the cauliflower until brown on all sides.
  • Empty PAN in a heat resistance BOWL.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the same PAN and stir-fry the onion and eggplant until brown on all sides.
  • Empty in the BOWL.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the same PAN and fry panch phoron seed mix until they pop.
  • Add the vegetables, season with cumin, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat to slow and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
  • Check after 5 minutes and add some water if necessary.
  • Serve with rice or your grains of choice.


  • Squeeze lemon juice over the vegetables and sprinkle with chili flakes.