Ingredient for the week: 5 Spice Powder
While there are many variants, a common mix is:
- Star anise (bajiao, 八角)
- Cloves (dingxiang, 丁香)
- Chinese Cinnamon (rougui, 肉桂)
- Sichuan pepper (huajiao, 花椒)
- Fennel seeds (xiaohuixiang , 小茴香)
Other recipes may contain anise seed or ginger root, nutmeg, turmeric, Amomum villosum pods (砂仁), Amomum cardamomum pods (白豆蔻), licorice, black pepper, Mandarin orange peel，or galangal. In the South China, Cinnamomum loureiroi and Mandarin orange peel is commonly used as a substitute for Cinnamomum cassia and cloves, respectively, producing a different flavour for southern versions five-spice powders.
Five spice may be used with fatty meats such as pork and duck. It is used as a spice rub for chicken, duck, pork and seafood, or added to the breading for fried foods. Five spice is used in recipes for Cantonese roasted duck, as well as beef stew. It is used as a marinade for Vietnamese broiled chicken. The five-spice powder mixture has followed the Chinese diaspora and has been incorporated into other national cuisines throughout Asia.
Although this mixture is used in restaurant cooking, many Chinese households do not use it in day-to-day cooking. In Hawaii, some restaurants place a shaker of the spice on each patron’s table. A seasoned salt can be easily made by dry-roasting common salt with five-spice powder under low heat in a dry pan until the spice and salt are well mixed.
Give this a try – you will find it in many of my dishes. Enjoy!