On my seemingly unending quest to roast every vegetable that enters my kitchen, I finally got to the point where simply adding salt, pepper and olive oil just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I wanted…demanded something different. Some kind of flavor combination to wake up my bored and tired taste buds. I wanted something different, yet familiar. Something complex, yet simple. Something I already had on hand, but hadn’t used. Enter…a mixture of Indian spices called Panch Phoron.
I guess what I was experiencing, was what my husband usually gets from me…I was being a huge pain in the ass to myself. Complicated…simple. Different…same. Not available…available. UGH! Make up your mind woman! I’ll never actually admit to him that I felt his pain.
Once I figured it out, it was pretty simple what I was looking for. I wanted roasted vegetables (specifically the carrots I had just bought at the farmer’s market). But instead of making a simple pan of roasted carrots, I wanted something with lots more flavor (like these roasted brussel sprouts) but without all the different ingredients and steps – and not brussel sprouts. So roasted carrots with an exotic spice mix would perfectly satisfy my picky craving.
You’re most likely already familiar with a five spice recipe known as Chinese five spice powder. In fact, you might even have a small bottle of it already in your spice cabinet. Panch Phoron, which literally means five spices, is the Indian (specifically Bangladesh) version of a five spice recipe. The components which make up this lovely mixture are fenugreek seed, nigella seed, black mustard seed, fennel seed and cumin seed. And to make things even easier…they are all used in equal parts.
The combination of these Indian spices is generally used in their full seed form. Lots of recipes you’ll find (that call for Panch Phoron) will say to cook the seed combination in ghee (clarified butter) to bring out the flavors and then the whole mess (butter and seasoning) is added to the dish. But since I was adding this to roasted vegetables, that I wanted to keep on the healthier side, I chose to grind the seeds. Same great flavor…just a different ‘shape.’ And, since the fenugreek that I keep around is in powder form, it made perfect sense to grind everything else up too.
Even if you’ve never had fenugreek or nigella seeds, you’ll instantly recognize this flavor combination from your favorite Indian restaurant. While the carrots were roasting, my kitchen smelled like our favorite Indian restaurant.
While you don’t have to grind the seeds, like I did, I found the powdered version much easier to eat than crunching on the full seeds with the roasted carrots. I think this would also be the way I would prepare the seasoning if I was using it on roasted cauliflower too (which is another very popular use for the seasoning).
But don’t think you’re limited to using this on vegetables only. No, this combination of Indian spices would be delicious stirred into steamed rice, some plain yogurt to use as a vegetable dip, soups, hummus (for a different kind of flavor), or on baked/roasted chicken. These Indian spices are a perfect little jar of magic you can have on hand to spice up lots of your old “stand by recipes” and turn them into something new with very little effort.
So while I relish in my ‘complicatedness,’ not every woman is quite so picky when it comes to her food, among other things.
A 47 year old woman, in Florida, was willing to trade her sexual flavors for a couple of double cheeseburgers from Mickey D’s dollar menu (which would probably be considered a better prize than that found in most happy meal boxes for certain adult males – cheaper too).
Of course, no good deed goes unpunished and she was arrested for prostitution.
I suppose some men would argue the point: how is that any different from what women ordinarily do when we (supposedly) make them take us out to fancy restaurants before we’ll put out for them? But I have yet to have had a guy take me to dinner somewhere worthy of an arrest afterwards…and if he tried to take me to McDonald’s…I would have him arrested. (I am of course referring to that lovely time when I was single, and not married.)
Have you had any dinner dates that were arrest worthy? And I’m just talking about how good the dinner was…not how bad the sex was afterwards.
Recipe: Oven Roasted Carrots with Indian Spices (Panch Phoron)
For The Panch Phoron
- 1 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
- 1 Teaspoon Nigella Seeds
- 1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- 1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
For The Roasted Carrots
- 1 Bunch Yellow Carrots
- 1 Bunch Orange Carrots
- 1 Bunch Purple Carrots
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Panch Phoron Spice (from above)
- Kosher Salt
For The Panch Phoron
- Add all of the seeds to a spice grinder and process until they are reduced to a powder.
- Pour into a sealable container and set aside.
For The Roasted Carrots
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
- Clean (and peel if desired) all of the carrots.
- Lay the carrots out onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Make sure to evenly coat the carrots with the oil by rubbing them with the oil.
- Separate the carrots into a single layer on the baking sheet. You may need 2 baking sheets to make sure that they are only in a single layer.
- Liberally sprinkle the Panch Phoron seasoning over the carrots, then sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt.
- Roast for 20-30 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender. The time difference is due to the the different sizes of carrots. The smaller/thinner they are, the faster they cook.
- Remove from oven.
You do not have to use different kinds of carrots in this recipe. These are just what I like to buy at the market. However, we thought that the yellow carrots tasted the best, especially with the seasoning.
You can use as little or as much of the seasoning as you wish. I used about half of the seasoning for this recipe. The rest I kept in a sealed container. It’s been 2 weeks already, and it’s still good.
The traditional Panch Phoron recipe calls for black mustard seed. I have used both the black and yellow when making up batches of this and both taste delicious.
Remember, you can also keep the seeds whole if you wish. If you do that and then use them on roasted vegetables, I would first heat them in the olive oil to help release more of their flavors.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Low calorie, Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: Indian (Northern)
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