Welcome to North Eastern State - Tripura. This was the most difficult state for me to as the Vegetarian options for the state were almost none. I was almost in the verge of skipping Tripura when BM group friends gave me the idea that Bengali population in the state is quite high and the Bengali cuisine is a major part of their traditional and delicious food. I did come across a few Tripura veg and meat based dishes that uses Panch Poran (a Bengali Spice mix) as the main ingredient. So here comes the recipe for the simple spice mix.
Now a small flash back - about 9 years ago. I went to US and was newly married. My husband had a stock of a spice mix (which I have never seen before) and I used it in one of the dishes (I do not remember which one) and it tasted awesome.. So I asked my husband what it is and he said he got in the Indian Grocery store. Just a spice mix and he did not mention the name. My mom and my MIL also loved this spice mix when they had used it in the subsequent years.. Now I did not know its name. The next few times I went to the grocery store, I could not find this spice mix there and also did not know what to ask the store person. I did not know its name.. Then after so many years, I knew its name was "Panch Poran". Panch means 5 and Phoran means spices in Bengali. This is a classic Bengali spice mix.
This spice mix is an equal blend of 5 spices - mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. The spices are added to the hot oil directly, but are never grounded and added to the oil. Panch poran are never added as a powdered form to curries and gravies. Dry roasted panch poran is ground and used for sprinkling on chutneys. Other names of Panch Poran are - panch phoron, panch puran, panchpuran, punch puram, punchpuram. I have used the spices in equal proportion, but you can reduce the fenugreek seeds to half if you prefer.
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Nigella Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Fennel Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Mix all these together and use or store in a glass jar for later use.