Bengali Spice Mixes

3 Essential Bengali Spice Mixes | Playful Cooking #spices #indian #bengali #kolkata

I have been making my everyday spice mixes for the past few years. Spices are the soul to Indian cooking and the aroma of freshly made spice mix can never be matched by the store bought version. It might add a few extra minutes but I always feel it’s worth tasking that time. Today, I am sharing 3 essential Bengali spice mixes, which very much defines the Bengali cuisine. These simple spice mixes are used in everyday cooking, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and often prepared fresh at home.

You may wonder if you should make these spices if you don’t cook Bengali food. Well, I say you should try, because all these three spices are earthy, aromatic and works amazing on curries. I have mentioned below how you can use each of these spices in Bengali cooking and non-bengali cooking.

Bengali Spice Mixes – Paanch Phoron (Indian Five Spice)

Paanch Phoron (Indian Five Spice) is the most popular Bengali spice mix. As the name describes, it consists of 5 whole spices – cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and nigella seeds. You use it in the beginning of the cooking to infuse the hot oil and it releases a bittersweet aroma. Sometimes, this is the only spice mix you use in a dish. Apart from the usual Bengali dishes, you can use it as a rub on meat or vegetable for roasting. Also works amazing for pickling vegetables.

3 Essential Bengali Spice Mixes | Playful Cooking #spices #indian #bengali #kolkata 3 Essential Bengali Spice Mixes | Playful Cooking #spices #indian #bengali #kolkata

Bengali Spice Mixes – Bhaaja Moshla

Bhaaja Moshla, literally translating to roasted spice, is a very unique aromatic spice mix. It is prepared with just three whole spices. It is typically used in vegetarian plant based recipes. You can also just sprinkle the spice mix on chaat or chutney to enhance the seasoning. The strong, robust and smoky flavor of bhaja moshla can uplift the flavor of any dish.

3 Essential Bengali Spice Mixes | Playful Cooking #spices #indian #bengali #kolkata 3 Essential Bengali Spice Mixes | Playful Cooking #spices #indian #bengali #kolkata

Bengali Gorom Moshla

Unlike the traditional Indian Garam Masala, Bengali Gorom Moshla includes just three whole spices. It’s not very spicy or hot, instead quite perfumy and smooth to the palate. You use it in any rich curry, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and always added at the end of the cooking to retain the fresh flavor. As you can notice the color of the Bengali Gorom Moshla is not red because there is no dry red chili added, but if you prefer you can add that for extra heat.

3 Essential Bengali Spice Mixes | Playful Cooking #spices #indian #bengali #kolkata Bengali Bhaaja Moshla | Playful Cooking #spices #indian #bengali #kolkata

The ground spice mixes Bhaaja Moshla and Bengali Gorom Moshla are prepared fresh in every Bengali household. It can however have mild variations based on personal preferences. The recipes I shared here are my Mom’s recipes. I always make them in small batches because with time, the flavor of the spice does go down a notch. Always store in clean air tight jar, preferably glass jars. Now if you want to learn more on Bengali food, do grab a copy of my book – Taste of Eastern India, where I have used these spices in various dishes!

3 Essential Bengali Spice Mixes | Playful Cooking #spices #indian #bengali #kolkata

3 Essential Bengali Spice Mixes

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • For Paanch Phoron
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nigella seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds

for Bhaaja Moshla

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

for Bengali Gorom Moshla

  • 20 green cardamoms
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 cinnamon barks


  1. For Paanch Phoron - Put all the spices in a clean airtight jar and mix it up.
  2. For Bhaaja Moshla - Dry roast all the spices at medium heat for about a minute by stirring constantly until the color of the spice changes to a mild darker shade.Let the roasted spice cool down a bit and then, grind it to powder. Store it in an airtight jar.
  3. For Bengali Gorom Moshla- Dry roast all the spices at medium heat by stirring constantly for about a minute until you can smell the aroma of the spices. Let the roasted spice cool down a bit and then, grind it to powder. Store it in an airtight jar

Most common spices used in Bengali cooking spices used in Bengali cooking

I love to see your creation from my blog, so if you make this spice mixes, tag me on social media @playfulcooking.

Learn about the vibrant cuisine of Kolkata – Check out my book Taste of Eastern India and follow the #tasteofeasternindia

Did you enjoy this Bengali Spice Mixes? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Grishma @ZaikaZabardast
    Grishma @ZaikaZabardast
    March 8, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    What an easy but beautiful recipe! Would love to try out Kankana! Thank you for sharing the recipe. Love last picture the most 🙂

  • sayantani
    March 8, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    thank God you added Randhuni, not mustard in your panchforon. these days the mix with mustard is everywhere and everyone seems to have forgotten that its not the original thing. beautiful clicks as always.

  • Kulsum@journeykitchen
    [email protected]
    March 8, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    ohh it was last year that I started using panch phoron and I’m hooked!! I have my friend sent it to me from Kolkatta with this exact same recipe but i have never tried using it. And yes, I have been wondering what is randhuni in english!! LEt me know if u find out

  • Notyet100
    March 8, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Beautiful pics ,..even I luv the flavour of panch shoran

  • Nash at plateful
    Nash at plateful
    March 9, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    These pictures are absolutely gorgeous! Radhuni looks like anise to me… but I’m ignorant of panch phoron, will check it out at the grocery stores here

  • Rosa
    March 9, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    A great spice mix! I love all those seeds…



  • emily
    March 9, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    Now, this is a spice combo that I’ve never tried before. When I start learning south asian recipes, I’m confused with the varying spices as well ha! Even now, I’m quite cautious with mixing spices, in case the taste doesn’t get along.

    I might have to substitute radhuni with mustard seeds. Can’t wait to try this spice mix! 😀

  • nisha
    March 9, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    i have no clue what this tastes like, but im thoroughly loving the look of it…the cute lil bucket is gorgeous

  • Nandita
    March 9, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    I have started using panch phoran only since the past few weeks and I am totally hooked to it. Great recipe and an equally great presentation. 🙂

  • Sukanya
    March 9, 2012 at 6:53 AM

    Love, love your shots, specially the last one.
    And so happy to see that you have used radhuni and not mustard, I am not sure but I have seen radhuni also mentioned as celery seeds. Sometimes i roasted and crushed them coarsely for shukto. And the flavour is so intoxicating

  • jeyashrisuresh
    March 9, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    fantastic combo of spices, beautiful clicks

  • Kiri W.
    Kiri W.
    March 9, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    What a great resource post 🙂 I always forget about the potentials of making your own spice mixes, and this is a beautiful one. Thank you for sharing!

  • Tiffany
    March 9, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    It is amazing to me how beautiful you make food–especially these spices–look. Happy Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  • Krithi
    March 9, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    Lovely pics Kankana!!

  • Jean (Lemons and Anchovies)
    Jean (Lemons and Anchovies)
    March 9, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    I was not familiar with a couple of these spices…now I will have to search them out on my next shopping trip. Love the pictures, Kankana. 🙂

  • Vimitha
    March 9, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    Nice clicks dear… and that is a very flavorful combination

  • Richa@HobbyandMore
    [email protected]
    March 9, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    gorgeous clicks Kanakana.. the radhuni do look sooo like ajwain..

  • Divya Yadava
    Divya Yadava
    March 9, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Beautiful pictures, Kankana! The last one is especially adorable. I always get mixed up about the spices in panch phoron..haha. Now I have a resource to go to :P.

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking
    March 9, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Lovely images in this post! Thank you for such informative and interesting information. I’m glad to have found your blog!

  • Kiran @
    Kiran @
    March 9, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Love this recipe — thanks for dissecting panch puran for many who are still confused about the spices 🙂

    Gorgeous photos!!!

  • Jen at The Three Little Piglets
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets
    March 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    That sounds like such a wonderfully fragrant and aromatic spice blend! And I just love all the spoons you’ve used in the photos!

  • Shumaila
    March 9, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Beautiful photographs! I haven’t ever cooked with panch phoron but lot of the spices remind me of the whole spices used in making pickled dishes. Have never heard of Radhuni as well, and looking at the picture thought it was ajjwain, but you mention its different. It’s so strange, being from the same country, there are still so many spices that one is not aware of because of the vast cooking styles all across India. I guess that’s what makes the country so unique.

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    March 9, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    I like the breakdown by spice with the accompanying image, very helpful!

  • Ambika
    March 9, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Lovely post Kankana! I have heard so much about panch phoran but somehow never used it. The Radhuni does look a lot like ajwain!! Love the last pic, did you decide to write and take a pic or took a pic and then write in?? hehe…either way, its turned out beautiful. And please tell me where you bought such cute spoons from? They are incredible cute and perfect!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      March 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      Thanks 🙂 I clicked the photo and then used picasa to write the text 🙂 And those spoons are from different places. I picked some during my trip to Bangkok and India and some are from US !

  • Marsha @ The Harried Cook
    Marsha @ The Harried Cook
    March 9, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    This is gorgeous… Love the ‘taste of home’ you bring to this post… and the pictures are SO beautiful. LOVE the spoons! Great post, Kankana!

  • Rosh
    March 9, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Very handy recipe…always wondered what it is made of! Love your clicks!

    Chef Al dente On going event: Gimme GREEN!

  • Reem | Simply Reem
    Reem | Simply Reem
    March 9, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Each n every pic is a beauty….
    Hey Kankana is Radhuni is ajwain????

  • Deeps @ Naughty Curry
    Deeps @ Naughty Curry
    March 10, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    never used this spice blend, heard of it though & always wondered what it was, so a big thanks to u for demystefying it for me 🙂 gorgeous clicks (im in love with ur spoon collection)

  • Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb
    Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb
    March 10, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    I was like u avoiding the kitchen when I was small. First time I hear about Panch Phoron and I am glad to have found this useful information in your post. Love the idea too of the combination of spices.

    thanks a lot for sharing and I wish u a nice weekend!

  • Joanne
    March 10, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    I’ve heard of this blend but have never actually tried it! Gorgeous photos and thanks for the recipe.

  • nipponnin
    March 10, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    This is really interesting post. I particularly like the stitched message. So cute!

  • Maja
    March 10, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    This five are so tempting! So beautiful post Kankana, it was like I’m in your kitchen 🙂

  • Amrita (Beetle's Kitchen Escapades)
    Amrita (Beetle's Kitchen Escapades)
    March 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Beautiful pictures, as always, Kankana! This is an interesting mix of spices. I have a question though, do you dry roast them before using? Or do you just powder and/or add them to whichever dish you’re making?

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      March 10, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      Thanks for dropping by! I know that people dry roast and grind it to dust and uses it in dishes. But in most typical Bengali dishes, we do not dry roast or grind. We just mix the spices and keep it in a jar and use it for tampering. I will post a recipe sometime soon with Panch Phoron!

  • Tamara
    March 10, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I’m in love with this post and your photos! 🙂

  • Kala
    March 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I love the presentation, selective focus, and depth in all of these images Kankana!

  • Radhika @ Just Home Made
    Radhika @ Just Home Made
    March 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Ever since I discovered Paanch Phoron, I am literally hooked. Just can’t get enough of it in curries, lentils and whatever else I can pull off with!
    Love love this medley of five spices… It is almost magical..

  • torviewtoronto and createwithmom
    torviewtoronto and createwithmom
    March 10, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    creative beautiful pictures Kankana 🙂

  • Harini
    March 10, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    I am in love with that balti, Kankana, and the beautiful silver spoons! So adorable and I like panch phoran too. Beautifully done!

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    March 10, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Kankana, what a lovely pretty post! Coming from a country where spices are not used much, it’s an eye-opening experience for me to learn about Indian cuisines and new spices. I’ve been learning a lot by blog hopping! 🙂 Hope you are having a good weekend with this beautiful weather! I was in Napa today, and the weather was beautiful!

  • Farwin @ Loveandotherspices
    Farwin @ Loveandotherspices
    March 11, 2012 at 6:46 AM

    Lovely pics and loved the breakdown of spices.Very informative !

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    [email protected]
    March 11, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Very informative posts 🙂 Thanks for sharing so much information. I don’t have Indian food much so I never knew there were so many spices ~ And hehe Nigella Seeds i had a bit of a laugh at that 😀

    Congrats for making Top 9 on Food buzz!

  • Ameena
    March 11, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    We aren’t Bengali but my Lucknow born father would totally agree with you on this. Actually, it’s one of the few spices I actually use – my mom gave me a recipe to use panch phoron in and it is fantastic! Even when I make it!

    Gorgeous photos!

    Hope you are having a great Sunday so far.

  • Liz
    March 11, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    This is a new spice combination to me….but I’d love to find it and give it a try. Your photos are lovely!

  • Tobias @ T and Tea Cake
    Tobias @ T and Tea Cake
    March 11, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Beautiful photography!
    And this post is very informative! I am currently doing a bit of research on spice mixes of all kinds to literally ‘spice things up’ in my cooking so this is very much to my liking.


  • foodwanderings
    March 11, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Nice pictorial tutorial into the Bengalo kitchen Kankana. Love your photos and those spoons with the Nigella seeds, I just received curry mixes (masalas) from Israel, Maharashtran style, but I suspect my sister sent them to me from a different spice shop. Mix is different!

  • Pranjali
    March 11, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Very beautiful post Kankana.

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)
    Jennifer (Delicieux)
    March 11, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    What a wonderful post, I loved your explanation of all of the spices, some of which I was not familiar with, and well your photos of the spices are just so beautiful.

  • easyfoodsmith
    March 12, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    Lovely post Kankana. Beautiful clicks have added to the glory of this wonderful spice mix.

  • Kitchen Belleicious
    Kitchen Belleicious
    March 12, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    ohh! I just learned so much! Wonderful post and the pictures are amazing!

  • Veena
    March 12, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Amazing pictures! I’ve seen a wikipedia page and comments from Bengali cooks on forums say that Radhuni is wild celery in English. For a more authentic flavor, celery seeds would be a better substitute than black mustard seeds…

  • Sanjeeta kk
    Sanjeeta kk
    March 13, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    What a lovely post, Kankana..isn’t Radhoni..ajwain seeds? Looks like that.

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      March 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      Hi Sanjeeta, It looks a lot like ajwain seeds but it’s different taste wise.

  • Vertika
    March 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Radhuni is a close relative of ajwain called ajmod or ajmodika….

  • Angie@Angie's Recipes
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    March 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Beautiful photos of those spices…Must look for some nigella seeds.

  • rebecca
    March 13, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    sounds great and first class pics

  • Ira Rodrigues
    Ira Rodrigues
    March 14, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    I love this post Kankana! hmm now I know what is panch phoron, thank you- thank you…

  • jehanne@thecookingdoctor
    [email protected]
    March 14, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    I am head over heels with your gorgeous spices and now I must find radhuni as I never ever seen or had them before! Pls share some photography tips-your pics are breathtaking:-)

  • Season with Spice
    Season with Spice
    March 15, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Beautiful images of each spice, Kankana. Excited to try this blend out in a veggie stir-fry. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Carie Means
    Carie Means
    March 15, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    According to Wiki Radhuni is wild celery, would agree with this? Just trying to track down the ingredients. 🙂 Beautiful pictures – BTW.

    “Radhuni, as it’s known in Bengali (Bengali: রাধুনি), is often confused with celery and is known as wild celery in English. It is known as ajmod in Hindi (Hindi: अजमोद) and Urdu (Urdu: ‫اجمو‬د), both derived from Sanskrit ajamoda (Sanskrit: अजमोद) or ajamodika (Sanskrit: अजमोदिका), from which the name for ajwain is also derived. It is also known as kant-balu in Burmese, and phak chi lom in Thai (Thai: ผักชีล้อม), although this name may also refer to a variety of celery.”

  • mjskit
    March 15, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    I knew what 3 of these spices were so thanks so much for the beautiful pictures and explanation of texture, taste and aroma! The spice mix sounds extremely aromatic and your pictures are lovely!

  • Athena
    March 18, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    I always learn something when I come to your blog. Beautiful shots and styling of the spices!

  • Lakshmi
    March 22, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    All time favourite!

  • Sarah
    March 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I am into mixing my own spices lately and really like this combination. Thanks for the post and the lovely pictures. I added you to my blogroll because you have such a lovely blog. Kudos

  • 2pots2cook
    November 19, 2018 at 9:54 PM

    Beautiful and educational 🙂 Thank you Kankana !

  • Betty Binon
    Betty Binon
    November 21, 2018 at 6:59 AM

    Kankana Your photography is so beautiful. I’ve added your book to my christmas list to my husband. I look forward to cooking from it. xo Betty

  • Caryn
    November 29, 2018 at 2:59 PM

    The coolest post and such great timing for me. I’m so glad you’re here doing what you do! xx

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