Panch Phoron Bengali spice blend

This spice blend is an easy Bengali spice blend recipe that uses equal parts of each ingredient, which means you can make up a small or big batch with ease, depending on the dish you are planning to cook. To make it, mix the ingredients in a bowl and use right away or store them in a spice jar for use later on. 

Unlike other Indian spice blends, Panch Phoron is always used whole and is never ground up. It can be used with vegetables, roasted potatoes, meat, fish, lentils and pickles - the traditional way to use the spice blend is to fry it in oil or ghee to flavour the oil before cooking other ingredients. The spice blend can be used as a marinade for meat. Most curries in India contain Panch Phoron. Despite its popularity, this spice blend is not commonly found in supermarkets. Most of the spice blends pungency comes from the mustard. The spice blend is also known as the Bengali five-spice. 


  • Cumin seeds (1 tsp)
  • Fennel seeds (1 tsp)
  • Fenugreek seeds (1 tsp)
  • Mustard seeds (1 tsp)
  • Wild onion seeds (1 tsp)


Combine all of the ingredients, and it is ready to use.

Frequently asked questions

What can I substitute for Panch Phoron?

A great alternative to the spice blend is garam masala or curry powder.

Is panch phoron healthy?

the spice blend is healthy and is known for lowering cholesterol, regulating blood sugar levels, and boosting digestion, aiding in weight loss.

Are onion seeds the same as nigella seeds and black sesame seeds?

Onion seeds are also known as kalonji, black onion seed or black caraway. It is from the same family as black cumin and looks the same as black sesame seeds and nigella seeds, however they are different. The Latin name for black sesame seeds is (sesame Indicicum), black nigella seeds have the name (Nigella sativa) and onion seeds have various names.

The confusion comes from the fact that various sources on the internet including some google searches are wrong; stating that nigella seeds and onion seeds are the same but they are not. Despite their differences, you can substitute onions seeds for nigella or black sesame seeds in the recipe without too much difference in taste.


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published