A few weeks ago I ordered some spices from Silk Road in Calgary. When the package arrived, they included a small extra packet of a mystery spice for me to try.
Unfortunately, I had no idea what it is. I tried googling the name on the label but wasn’t sure what it says. Pana Poram? Pand Poran?
Eventually I smartened up and (1) opened the packet, and (2) looked on the Silk Road website.
By smelling I immediately knew it was an Indian spice blend with fennel and some other seeds. By poking around on the website I learned that it’s actually called panch poran and is a salt-free blend containing nigella seeds, fenugreek, fennel, cumin, and mustard seeds.
I have a trick for trying a new spice to see if I like it: I slice a potato, lay the slices on a sheet pan, and brush both sides with olive oil. Then I sprinkle on the spice and cook at 400°F for 25-30 mins. Easy peasy!
So I ground some panch poran in my (world’s smallest) mortar and pestle…
… and sprinkled it on potatoes. Et voilà!
I think this seasoning would do better in a sauce than on potatoes, but I like it. It’s liquorish-y from the fennel and has a nice earthy bite to it. I didn’t add any salt to these potatoes because I wanted to taste just the spice blend, but I would add a little kosher salt next time to bring out the flavour a little more. I also think this spice blend would be fantastic on sweet potatoes.
BTW this Turkish marash pepper is one of the spices I ordered from Silk Road:
Months ago I read an article about how versatile this spice is, so I looked high and low for it in Edmonton with no luck. I was thrilled to find it in Calgary, and even more thrilled to try it. I love this stuff! It has a bright, almost sweet heat to it. I highly recommend it… if you can find it. 😉