Today I am sharing a whole spice blend which is a staple in all Bihari / Bengali kitchen in India. Its called 'Paanch phoran' and is a mix of five different spices - Cumin seeds, Fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, yellow mustard seeds, nigella seeds. This spice blend is used for tempering most of the vegetable dishes and beside adding flavor they are high on medicinal benefits too.
Cumin - have antioxidant, carminative and anti-flatulent properties. The seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber.(more here)
Fenugreek - contains protein, fibre, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, iron and alkaloids. It also contains a compound diosgenin which has oestrogen-like properties, as well as steroidal saponins. (more here)
Fennel Seeds - contain numerous flavonoid anti-oxidants like kaempferol and quercetin. These compounds function as powerful anti-oxidants by removing harmful free radicals from the body thus protect from cancers, infection, aging and degenerative neurological diseases (more here)
Nigella seeds - popularly known as black seed, have been prized for their healing properties since time immemorial. (more here)
Mustard seeds - very rich in phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. (more here)
Mix all the ingredients in equal proportion and store it tightly sealed jar in a dry cool place.