Have you tried the Bengali five spice blend yet? If you haven’t, you should give it a try.
Panch Phoron (Panch=Five, Phoron=Temper/Flavoring) is a spice blend and is usually used to flavor the food by using in little quantities by tempering the dish.
The distinct aroma of Bengali cuisine is mostly due to the use of Panch Phoron. The spice mix is a blend of the fennel/saunf seeds, black mustard seeds (sometimes this is substituted with radhuni or celery seeds), nigella/kalonji seeds, golden- buff fenugreek/methi and brownish-buff-colored cumin/jeera seeds. The seeds are combined in equal quantities and a little bit of this mix goes a long way in enhancing the flavors of a dish.
I found this unusual looking potatoes the other day. They looked like fingerling potatoes, but in a much deeper red shade.
I came home and looked up and found that these are the French fingerling potatoes. The French fingerling potato is known to be a gourmet quality fingerling with purplish skin and yellow flesh inside. The flesh has a ring of pink/speckled pink when cut across.
“French fingerling potatoes understandably acquired their descriptive name due to their oblong and skinny shape. Rather dry and flour like, this potato variety offers quality and a delicious nutty flavor. Wrapped in a pinkish-red skin, the moist yellow flesh also has streaks of pink. Fingerlings measure between two and four inches in size.” (source)
Fried potato is universal. With a little bit of tweaking, a little addition of spice, they are a blast and often considered a comfort food in many cuisines. Potatoes with Panch Phoron is a dish with a different kind of flavor than the everyday deal! A lovely side dish, with an exotic flavor for many, this is considerably easy to make. Back home these fried potatoes are usually served with dal/lentils (another recipe where I have used the Panch Phoron).
I have come to the conclusion that they work great as snacks too, just like you would eat the french fries and is is worth indulging once in a while.
Potatoes with Indian Five Spice
- 1 lb fingerling potatoes, (or any potatoes) cut into strips or wedges
- 1.5 tablespoons mustard oil or any vegetable oil
- 2 whole dried red chilies
- 1 teaspoon panch phoron
- 1-2 fresh hot green chilies, such as Serrano or Thai bird, thinly sliced (or adjust amount to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- fresh chopped cilantro/coriander, to garnish (optional)
panch phoron = cumin, fennel, mustard (may be substituted with radhuni/celery seeds) methi/fenugreek and nigella/kalonji/onion seeds combined – each in equal quantities.
Note: It is ok to parboil the potato wedges; just about 2-3 minutes in the microwave or in boiling water. But it is optional. If you are parboiling, adjust the cooking time in the pan. The potatoes should be slightly crisped at the edges and fork tender.
In a large pan/skillet heat the oil. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the red dried chilies and fry them on both sides until very dark brown. Add the panch phoron and let the spices sizzle and crackle for about half a minute. Add fresh chilies and the potatoes.
Add turmeric and salt mix well while tossing; cook at high heat for about 5 minutes until the potatoes are heated through and slightly browned at the edges. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook till the potatoes are cooked through and fork tender and slightly crisp on the edges. Increase the heat and dry off any remaining moisture in the pan. Taste and adjust the seasonings and fold in the cilantro. Serve hot, or at room temperature.
A simple delicious dish with lots of memories from home…