It’s a question we get asked a lot. We’ve put together a short article on the spices you can find within the Chinese 5 spice mix.
WHAT IS CHINESE 5 SPICE?
When you feel like a Chinese meal you would normally head straight for the local Chinese takeaway, or sit down at a restaurant. But you can create a delicious authentic Chinese meal at home through the use of Chinese 5 Spice mix.
Chinese 5 Spice is a mix of spices in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. Each of the 5 spices represents a traditional Chinese food element and these elements are sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami (savouriness). It is thought that the Chinese intended to create a powder representing the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
WHAT SPICES ARE IN CHINESE 5 SPICE?
A typical Chinese 5 Spice mix includes cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns and cloves. Other combinations are seen in other South East Asian cuisine.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHINESE 5 SPICE
As well as tasting typically Chinese, the spices also have their own health giving properties. Cinnamon has antioxidants and helps to slow the ageing process. Fennel seeds improve heart health and reduce inflammation. Star anise (in a tea) is used to treat respiratory infections and certain digestive issues. Szechuan pepper stimulates the immune system and increases blood circulation. Cloves contain important nutrients and can kill bacteria. So when you create your homemade Chinese meal, you’re potentially improving your health as well!
USES OF CHINESE 5 SPICE MIX
Chinese 5 Spice is traditionally used with fatty meats such as duck, pork and goose or as a spice rub for chicken, duck pork and seafood. It can also be added to the bread mixture for fried foods
Two widely used regional variations are 5 Spice in Cantonese roasted duck and Vietnamese broiled chicken.
5 Spice mix could be used also as part of a favourite recipe of yours giving it a new and exciting oriental flavour!