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My Spices

Since I’ve learnt to cook I think spices are the greatest thing after gravity! No wonder there was such massive spice trade in the middle ages. They’re simply amazing – a handful of those harmless seeds and leaves will turn mixtures of food into culinary wonders! Chitrita Banerjee has written a wonderful essay on panch phoron – the five spice mixture of Bengal in her book The Hour of the Goddess. Panch phoron is really nigella (kalonji/kalo jeerey), cumin (jeera), fenugreek (methi), fennel (saunf/mouri) and mustard (shorshey/rai), dry roasted together.

From My Sketchbook, May 2006

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