Five spice powder is a blend of 5 types of spices encompassing all the five flavors- namely sweet, sour, spicy, pungent and salty. These tastes are contributed by the spices in the powder.


The unique taste of this powder can liven up a boring dish.

The usual spices are star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds and Szechwan peppers. Some manufacturers use other combination as well. The basic idea is the ‘yin and yang’ principle of Chinese philosophy. That is, the heat of an ingredient in a dish is counter balanced by the cooling quality of another ingredient.

Chinese cinnamon which is got from the bark of cassia tree is often used instead of cinnamon to give it a characteristic taste. The Proportion of the five spices need not be equal. They are adjusted to suit individual preferences and tastes.

Many Chinese dishes use five spice powders , mainly in meat dishes and most importantly to marinate meats. Even though this powder is popular in Chinese cuisine, it can also be seen in some East Asian dishes.

It is sometimes used to season vegetable dishes as well. Since the spice powder can be over powering, use it judiciously- a small pinch goes a long way if you are cooking for two.

Instead of using it in Chinese cuisine, you can also be used to spice up cookies, cakes and waffle batters.

You can also prepare this five spice powder at home. Dry roast the 5 spices on low flame without burning them and powder in a spice mill. The quantity of each spice can be adjusted according to which taste you want be shown out predominantly.

Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

I got this small sachet of Five spice powder.[Since I use it rarely, I decided against making this at home .The quantity that i intend to prepare was very less to get my mixie running] I add a dash of it to give a twist to vegetable , rice dishes.

Dishes that use 5 spice powder

Bon Appetit…

14 thoughts on “Recipes with 5 Spice Powder – Chinese Ingredient # 5”

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