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Creamy Spinach with Panch Phoran

Creamy Spinach With Panch Phoran

A wonderful side dish to accompany meat curries or a lentil dish. Serve as a mezze or as an hors d’oeuvre. Try replacing the spinach with Swiss chard.

Panch Phoran is the most common masala in Bengal. The blend is composed if five spices: cumin, adjwain, mustard seed, fennel and nigella. This bitter masala finds balance when roasted in hot oil until it becomes red-brown and crunchy.


  • 1 lb. spinach or Swiss chard
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Panch Phoran
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 cup peeled or canned tomatoes
  • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche or 35% cream


  1. 1

    Wash the spinach. Drain well using a salad spinner.

  2. 2

    In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat and lightly roast the Panch Phoran (10-15 seconds).

  3. 3

    Add the onion and ginger and sauté (5 min).

  4. 4

    Add the tomatoes, salt and black pepper and cook for 5 min. Add the spinach and cook for another 5 min., stirring regularly.

  5. 5

    In a bowl, whisk the sugar, yogurt, garlic, salt and cream in a bowl until very smooth (1 min).

  6. 6

    Pour the yogurt mix into the pot and stir until heated through (1–2 min).

  7. 7

    Transfer to a platter and serve hot as an accompaniment or at room temperature.