According to a traditional theory, the Chinese developed the 5 spice powder to engage all the five taste buds that include sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent. Even though it is not known how exactly this culinary powder originated, the fact is that is continues to add flavour to meals across various cultures. This powder can really make your cuisine taste better and balance the aromas.
So if you are planning to add five spice powder to your culinary creations, then you need to what it encompasses and how it can enhance your food by harmonizing various tastes.
But before we get into it, let us understand what five-spice powder actually means.
Culinary experts reveal that a standard recipe of this powder includes Szechuan peppercorns, fennel, cinnamon, ground cloves, and star anise. Here are some unique taste attributes of each of these ingredients that make the five-spice powder as we know it today.
Cinnamon has a sweet taste but it is not like sugar. It has a spicy undertone that adds a little pungent flavour to it.
This is not exactly a pepper but has a unique taste of its own that makes your food more flavourful. Extracted from red-brown berry, the plant is obtained from spiky ash bush that adds some serious aroma to the food. This fragrant spice not only engages your sense of smell with its spicy fragrance but also leaves your tongue slightly numb from its taste. Just two-three bites later, you will be able to identify the taste of ginger and anise that eventually taste salty, sour, and hot.
Ground cloves add a pungent taste but with a sweet after taste.
Some say that star anise tastes a bit like licorice but has a slightly bitter tinge in its taste.
Also like anise, fennel is slightly less pungent with sweet undertone and minus the licorice aftertaste.
Types of Five Spice Powder
Other variations of this powder include ginger root, anise seeds, nutmeg, turmeric, cardamom, orange peel, galangal and liquorice.
This powder in Southern China is made form Saigon cinnamon and a dash of orange peel instead of cloves and Chinese cinnamon. Therefore, the five-spice powder in Southern China tastes different than the same powder in other parts of the country.
When to Add It to Your Food
You can use this powder in your dishes to add an explosive taste of spices. They taste the best with meat, fish, or poultry marinades. It is mostly used as dry rub for maximum flavour. It is particularly suited to pork dishes that contain pork belly. You can marinate it in five-spice powder and other seasonings of your choice. In the west, the steamed dish is replaced with stir-fried versions of pork tenderloin or pork chops. Stir-frying the ingredients offers a fragrant mixture and a delicious taste.
You can also add a bit of oil and vinegar and use the steak on grill. Some even add to the sauce for enhanced taste.
Ceylon Cinnamon Ground
Ceylon Cinnamon Ground or ‘True Cinnamon’ is the variety used in medicinal and culinary purposes. It is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. Ceylon Cinnamon is used in both sweet and savoury foods to impart a warm spice flavour. In the Middle East it is commonly paired with meats such as chicken and lamb. The term ‘cinnamon’ also refers to its mid-brown colour.$3.45
Pepper Sichuan Ground
Sichuan Pepper is an oriental fruit grown on a small ash tree native to the Sichuan province of China. Even though it is called pepper, it is not a true pepper and is not related to black peppercorns, which are from India. The berries have a warm peppery fragrance, with citrus notes & a clean fresh aftertaste leaving a slightly numbing sensation on the tongue. It is the outer husk that has all the flavour, the internal hard black seed is edible but can add a bitter taste. It is a key ingredient in Chinese cuisine and used in some Asian recipes. It is used in our chilli sichuan salt and calamari salt and pepper blends.$3.45
Five Spice Powder – Chinese, Mild
Chinese Five Spice powder is a spice mixture of five spices used primarily in Chinese cuisine but also used in other Asian and Arabic cookery. It is also commonly used in Asian cocktails for a warm spice kick. The dominant flavour comes from star anise with the sweet flavour of cloves and cinnamon that combine to give a sweet tangy profile that works well with rich meats like duck. This exotic and versatile blend is usually used to add sweet but spicy flavour to savoury and sweet dishes.$3.45
Fennel Seeds Ground
Fennel seeds are obtained from the aromatic and tall fennel plant which is native to the Mediterranean and a member of the caraway family. The seeds can either be used whole or be finely ground. It has a strong anise flavour that is warm and breath freshening. It is a key ingredient of the Chinese five-spice and Herbs de Provence.$3.45
Star Anise Ground
Star Anise Ground is a dominant spice in Chinese five spice powder native from the southwest o China and used in many Oriental recipes. It can be mixed with other species to give an Asian seasoning to many dishes. It is considered an essential ingredient in Chinese duck and pork recipes. Its liquorice-like flavour is similar to that of aniseed and fennel. Star anise ground is more practical when using it as a spice rub and in baking. Ground star anise has a red-brown colour and is more versatile than star anise whole. It can be used in breads, pastries and in many desserts due to is unique, sweet and licorice flavour.$3.45