Chinese Five-Spice Powder (五香粉)

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五香粉 is literally translated to “five-spice powder”. As its name suggests, the powder is a blend of five spices. It is mainly used in Chinese cuisine but also used in other Asian cookery.  The mixture represents the five elements of cosmos, wood, fire, earth, metal, water, and encompasses five principal tastes. There are many variants; some use them in equal proportions while others heighten specific flavors.  The flavor and aroma is generally dominated by star anise.  This recipe uses a common mix of star anise (bajiao, 八角), fennel seeds (xiaohuixiang, 小茴香), Chinese cinnamon (rougui, 肉桂), cloves (dingxiang, 丁香), and Szechuan peppercorns  (huājiāo 花椒).  You can make your own powder or purchase it ready-made in Asian supermarket or spice stores. Peking duck and five-spice tea eggs are two of popular uses in China.  Five-spice powder is available for purchase online or from an Asian grocery store if you do not have time to make your own. 

Prep Time: 10 min     Cook Time: 0 min

Ingredients

  • 6 star anise or 2 teaspoons ground star anise
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 teaspoons ground Chinese cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns or black peppercorns

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender or a grinder
  • Grind until the powder mixture becomes very fine
  • Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place

Tips

  • You can use whole or ground spices. To enhance flavors, roast whole spices n a frying pan, but watch closely to prevent spices from burning.

Uses

  • Most commonly used with Chinese “flavor potting” technique where meats are stewed with flavorful and rich sauce for long hours. The sweet and tangy flavor of the five-spice powder is a perfect complement to rich meats like pork, beef, or duck.  
  • Use only sparingly on leaner meat like chicken to avoid overpowering the dish. 
  • For stir-fried vegetables, sprinkle about one teaspoon.
  • An excellent rub for meats. Simply add a little salt.

 

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