Chinese Five Spice is a staple in Chinese kitchens although not used in every recipe, an even blend of the following aromatics; pungent star anise, cloves, and cinnamon, fiery Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds. However, like many recipes, it is not definite and other ingredients may be added or substituted such as ginger, nutmeg, turmeric and in south China orange peel. It is often used in ‘ Red ’ cooking or Chinese slow cooking, where meat is braised for many hours in heavily flavoured stocks or sauces
The sweet, tangy taste of Chinese Five Spice is excellent with fatty meats such as roast pork, duck or goose staples of classic Cantonese cuisine. An extremely versatile flavoured salt can be easily made by dry-roasting table salt with five-spice powder on a low heat in a wok until the spice and salt are well mixed. It makes an excellent spice rub for chicken, duck, pork, ribs and seafood.
Chinese Five Spice Recipe
For best results blend the following whole spices in a spice grinder and store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark cupboard.
10 Star Anise pods
1 heaped tablespoon Fennel Seeds
3 cm piece of Cinnamon Stick
½ teaspoon Sichuan Peppercorns
½ teaspoon of White Peppercorns
½ teaspoon ground Ginger
Ginger is a flowering plant of which the large underground stems or rhizomes are used grated or once dried, ground as a powder in numerous style of cooking and cuisines. Ginger is part of the same family as turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. Ginger is believed to have first grown in India, certainly, by the first century AD it was part of the spice trade to Europe and was a staple of Roman cooking.
Powdered ginger is used extensively in baking in gingerbread and parkin, ginger snap biscuits and fruit cakes and as the principle flavour in ginger beer and ginger ale. Candied ginger, or crystallized ginger, is the root cooked in sugar until soft and is a type of confectionery.
In Indian cuisine, ginger is one of the main spices used for making lentil based curries and vegetable dishes. Fresh, as well as dried, ginger is used to spice tea and coffee. In Japan, ginger is pickled to make Beni shōga, 紅生姜 the pink-hued accompaniment to many rice dishes. In fiery Kimchi, the fermented Korean cabbage dish ginger juice or minced ginger is added to the ingredients of the spicy paste just before the fermenting process. Chinese cooks slice ginger onto steamed fish alongside sesame oil and spring onions and chopped ginger is added with garlic to stir fry dishes. Ginger is also used in a number of Burmese, Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and Vietnamese dishes.
Ginger is used in traditional Indian medicine and some small studies have found that it can be effective as a treatment for seasickness and morning sickness when taken as a tea or infusion.