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Also known as Panch Puren, Panch Phoron or simply "five spice" in English, Punch Pooran is a famous Bengal style blend of seeds for cooking. The blend contains equal parts of cumin (Jeera), fennel, fenugreek (Methi), nigella (Kalonji), and yellow mustard seeds. The special thing about Punch Pooran is that all the seeds are used whole and not ground. Once the rich aroma from the crackling spices in the pan has tickled your nose for the first time you will always cherish this smell. You can find Bengali Five Spice in most Asia Shops or all-Asian supermarkets.

This is my own variation of a simple Bengal style vegetable dish. It is quick and uncomplicated to prepare and should make for a delicious introduction to cooking with Punch Pooran. The recipe is vegan, rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A, B6, C, and K, and essential fatty acids. The spices are not considered in this equation, but Punch Pooran is also crazy healthy and it would take me another node to list all the health benefits, look it up if interested!

~2 servings (with rice)

2 mid-sized potatoes
1 large carrot or two smaller ones
2 stalks of celery
1 heaped tbsp of Punch Pooran
1-2 tbsp of canola or sunflower oil
1 tsp of ground coriander
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
parsley or cilantro for garnish


1. Peel potatoes and carrot. Cut both into small, similarly-sized cubes. Wash the celery and cut it into little pieces.

2. Turn the heat up high. Take a frying pan and add enough oil to cover the bottom. Now add the Punch Pooran, scattering the seeds evenly in the pan.

3. Once the seeds have started crackling, you can add the potatoes. Stir and turn down the heat a little. Add a little salt and pepper. Stir continuously for three minutes. The seeds should be sticking to the potatoes now.

4. Add in carrots and celery and stir, then add coriander and stir thoroughly. Turn down the heat to medium. You can cover the pan to speed up the vegetables getting soft. Once the carrots are al dente, add parsley or cilantro and check for salt. Stir once more. It's done!

You can serve this stir fry on its own or with rice, but also with a salad if you want something lighter.

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