Spice Sleuth

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?

Mystery spice

Mystery Spice:
If you wanna be my supper,
you must reveal your blend.

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…

Mortar and pestle

Mini mortar and puny pestle.

… and sprinkled it on potatoes. Et voilà!

Panch poran potatoes

Potatoes à la panch poran.

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:

Marash pepper

Marash pepper.

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. 😉


6 thoughts on “Spice Sleuth

  1. glad to hear about this mail order spice shop as we have had some trouble finding some things here. actually, we found them in Calgary too come to think of it.
    I am learning lots, I wish that this wasn’t just a December blog!! are you sure you wont keep going??

    • Hi Connie – I’ve been thinking about continuing it but haven’t decided yet. If I do, it will be much less frequent. Posting daily is fun for the short term, but too much work to keep doing once I’m back at work. I’m glad you’re enjoying it though!

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