Have you ever wondered what five spice powder is? Well, all I know was it is a spice mixture primarily used in Chinese cooking. I assumed there are 5 types of spices combined because of the word “five” as indicated. Is it true or false? Read on to find out the answer. Also, you will be delighted to know that you are able to make your own too – your own creation of the five spice powder!
Let’s quickly find out what the ingredients are.
FIVE SPICE POWDER INGREDIENTS
The common mix is:
- Star Anise
- Szechuan Peppercorn
- Fennel Seeds
There are other variations that include nutmeg, turmeric, ground ginger, mandarin orange peel or galangal.
So, the “five” does not literally means the mixture contains five types of spices. No doubt many recipes call for the common combination. Depending on personal preference or type of cooking, you can make five spice powder to suit their own palate.
HOW TO MAKE FIVE SPICE POWDER
- In a dry pan, over medium heat, toast the following until fragrant.
20g star anise, 20g Szechuan peppercorns, 10g fennel seeds and 8g cloves
- Toss occasionally to prevent burning. Allow to cool.
- Grind and blend toasted ingredients with 10g cinnamon till well grounded. Store in airtight container.
The above proportion can be adjusted to your liking. You may also consider adding other ingredients such as nutmeg or turmeric. Bring out the creative side in you!
Don’t worry if you have created too many variations and limited space to store them. Find the BEST Spice Rack Organizer to arrange them neatly.
FIVE SPICE POWDER USES
This highly aromatic mixture makes a warming and slightly sweet spice blend. Mainly used as marinates and spice rub for chicken and fatty meats like pork and duck or goose. Also used to enhance stir-fry vegetables, stew or braised dishes.
Two dishes that use five spice powder and easily recognizable are Chinese Barbequed Pork (Char Siu) and Peking Duck.
I am a fan of Char Siu, especially with a bowl of hot steamed rice. Do not fancy Peking Duck though. How about you?
I found this Chinese Barbequed Pork recipe easy to follow. Moreover, this author provides cooking tips and advice that I truly appreciate.
Don’t want to handle a whole duck? Try this Easy Peking Duck recipe. Using duck breast, it should be pretty easy.
If you would like to try out these recipes and do not have five spice powder, conveniently buy on Amazon. Or you may make some yourself using the above ingredients and steps.
More true or false question to ponder
- “Five” spice powder was named so because it incorporates the five basic flavours of Chinese cooking – sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty. True or False?
- The number refers to the Chinese 5 elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. In traditional Chinese medicine, imbalances in these elements are said to be the cause of sickness. Numerous herbs and spices have been used for thousands of years to restore balances in these elements, treating illnesses. Which is how the five spice powder got its name. True or False?
Honestly, I am not sure how the name come about. Would love to know your thoughts. Now that you know what five spice powder is, would you try them if you have not? Please leave your feedback and comments below. Also, share with us your experience with five spice powder, if any.
Oh, last but not least and interestingly, I found a cocktail using Chinese five spice! Old Sevillian Bourbon Cocktail.
Have a great one. Cheers!
Before you leave, you may want to read about
Bay Leaves – What is the purpose of bay leaves in cooking
Cajun Seasoning – What spices are in Cajun seasoning
Cardamom – How is cardamom used
Mint – About mint leaves
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From the Corner of My Home – Spice Up Your Life with Herbs and Spices