Chinese dishes prepared across the globe have a peculiar flavor that is unique to the cuisine. What is it that makes the cuisine so distinctive and flavorful? It is the 5 spice powder. Chefs preparing Chinese food items use this magical ingredient to add the authentic Chinese zing. Let’s learn a little more about this magical ingredient – The Chinese 5 Spice Powder.
How did Five Spice Powder come into existence?
It is believed that ancient Chinese chefs wanted to create a ‘wonder powder’ including all five elements, viz, wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These elements are represented by five distinct flavors – sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty. And during this discovery of the perfectly-balanced wonder powder the very popular 5 Spice Powder came into existence. The aim of creating this magical ingredient was to bring life to bland steamed and boiled Chinese dishes like soups, dumplings, rice, etc.
Which Five spices are used?
The Chinese Cinnamon is a little on the bitter side than sweet. It is mostly thicker than other forms of Cinnamon and oozes comparatively stronger flavors.
The Sichuan Peppercorns are smaller than the usual pepper and they have a unique aroma and flavor. Sichuan Peppercorns are neither hot like chili peppers nor pungent like black peppercorn. Instead, they have slight aromas of lemongrass and create a tingly numbness in the mouth.
The Star Anise got its name from its star-like appearance. The flavor of Star Anise is similar to that of licorice. It is usually sweet in taste but releases a variety of aromas like woody, spicy and smoky.
The Fennel is mostly used to balance the spice of chili peppers in Chinese cuisine. Its bitter and sweet flavors help tones down the hotness of other spices used.
Chinese cuisine involves the use of many proteins and Clove is that one spice that gives the right amount of heat to soften the proteins used.
How to make it?
The great thing about the 5 Spice Powder is that it has a good shelf life, which means you can make it in advance and store it in an airtight container for at least 3-4 months.
Here’s a quick recipe to make your own 5 spice powder.
- 3 portions of Chinese Cinnamon or Regular Cinnamon
- 1 portion of Sichuan Peppercorns
- 2 portions of Star Anise
- 5 portions of Fennel
- 4 portions of Cloves
- Dry Roast the peppercorns for 3-4 minutes.
- In a blender or food processor ground peppercorns and star anise into a fine powder.
- In a blender or food processor, ground cinnamon, fennel, and cloves separately.
- Now mix all these powders together and store them in an airtight container.
Now you can use this special ingredient and make delicious homemade Chinese food. With Dwaraka Organic spices and relish authentic flavors.