Most cooks will know about Five Spice Powder, that highly aromatic spice-blend used in many Chinese dishes.
What is less well known, however, is that Indian cuisine also has a spice-blend known as “Five Spices” – Panch Phoron.
One important thing to note about Panch Phoron – right at the start of cooking it must be “tempered” to get the best out of it. This means that once the cooking oil is up to temperature, the panch phoron is stir-fried for a few seconds before other ingredients are added.
The aromas released when the seeds hit the hot oil and start spluttering away are simply fantastic!
Do your taste buds a favour – eat this superb curry whilst drinking an equally wonderful pot of Chai Masala.
Panch Phoron Ginger Garlic Chicken
- about 1kg skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 6 tsp Panch Phoron
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 3 tsp Sambal Oelek – see Notes
- 4 tbsp tomato puree
- coconut oil
- lemon juice
- finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish
- Heat about 4 tbsp of coconut oil in a large non-stick wok over medium heat. The oil will be hot enough when one of the seeds from the panch phoron begins to sputter when dropped into the wok.
- Add the panch phoron to the hot oil, and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped onion, and stir fry until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ginger, and stir fry for a further 3 minutes. Add the garlic and turmeric, and stir fry for two minutes more.
- Add the sambal oelek, and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the chicken, and stir well to coat with the spices and vegetables in the wok.
- Add the tomato puree, and stir well. Add just enough water to create a sauce for the chicken to cook in.
- Bring up to a low simmer, and cook for about 15-20 minutes or so, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked – a chicken piece should be white all the way through if cut in half.
- Remove the wok from the heat. Give the dish a squirt of lemon juice, and garnish with fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves.
- Serve with pilau cauliflower rice, or Paleo naan bread.
Ideally this dish should be made with Kashmiri chilli paste. As I was out of it, and didn’t have the time required to knock up a batch of my own, I used the sambal oelek, which is an excellent substitute.