You just never know what you’ll get when foodies on Facebook, who’ve never met each other but feel like they’re the best of friends because they share this audacious love of food, collaborate and stir up something creative…
…Trish from ‘The Mystic Blue Spice Company’ has been experimenting with new spice blends, and, of course, being the Bohemian chef that I am, she just knew I’d jump at the chance to work with some of her new creations! So, she sent me two spice blends: ‘Panch Phoron’ and ‘Berbere’…you’ve probably never heard of them…neither had I! Today, I opened the package of ‘Pance Phoron’ and it was like I was transfixed to another world! The scents! And then I dabbed some of it on my tongue…just a taste…there was no doubt about the taste of mustard, cumin and fennel…but there were two flavors that I couldn’t distinguish. Loved this mystery! What were these flavors? Nigella seeds and fenugreek! Since I already had some fresh kale, I thought I’d vary the typical way I cook it and go with something different using the Panch Phoron. Me thinks this is the BEST kale I’ve ever cooked!! The ‘panch’ packed a major ‘PUNCH’ of flavor! Sharing with Amee’s Savory Dish: Fit and Fabulous Fridays because this is ultra FIT and decidedly FABULOUS!
According to the Epicentre ‘Encylopedia of Spices’ here’s the scoop on ‘Panch Phoran’: Panch Phoron (Bengali Five-Spice)
The distinct aroma of Bengali cuisine is mostly due to the blend of spices known as panch phoron, or perhaps some other variation on this name (see below). Panch means “five” and phoron is “flavour” or “spice”, hence the common translation Bengali Five-Spice”. Panch phoron is a colourful blend of flavourful seeds: the green of fennel seed, black mustard and nigella seeds, golden fenugreek and buff-coloured cumin seeds. Some variations may substitute anise for the fennel seeds or wild mustard for cumin, radhuni seed for mustard, and possibly black cumin for nigella. Generally the ingredients are added in equal proportions, though this can vary according to taste.
Panch phoron is usually fried in oil or ghee before adding anything else to the pot, flavouring the oil and releasing the aroma of the oils in the seeds and causing them to pop in the pan. Other ingredients are added at this point, the mixture adding sweetness and bringing forward the flavours of vegetables, beef, fish or lentils.
What you need:
5 slices of bacon fried and leave drippings in pan (chop and reserve bacon for garnish when serving kale)
2 tsp Panch Phoron
8-10 cups chopped fresh kale (2 large bunches of fresh kale with spines removed and washed)
½ cup chicken broth
1 can drained garbanzo beans
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black coarse ground pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
What you do:
Over medium high in a large skillet, add the bacon drippings and put ‘Panch Phoran’ spice and stir around for about 45-60 seconds allowing the seeds to release their oils and flavors. Then add chopped kale into bacon drippings and spices. Using tongs, toss and coat kale well. Cook for about 5-7 minutes tossing and turning.
Reduce heat to medium and add chicken broth. Cover and cook about 15 minutes tossing with tongs a few times. Add garbanzo beans and onions and toss together with the kale. Reduce heat to low and add red pepper flakes, sea salt, and pepper. Toss well. Turn off heat and cover.
Let sit for about 15-20 minutes. Before serving, reheat and drizzle with olive oil and toss. This keeps well and is great the next day.
©2012 Alice D’Antoni Phillip Ally’s Kitchen