Thursday, 22 March 2012

5 Spice Powder

This is an ingredient often called for in Chinese and other Asian cooking. If you can get it, great. If, like me, it isn't readily available, you can make your own quite easily. Of course, if you can't get 5-spice powder, you likely can't get szechuan pepper either. This isn't actually a pepper; it comes from the seeds of plant in the citrus family and has a peppery but more resinous or floral flavour. If you can't get it, use black pepper and add just a grate of nutmeg and/or a juniper berry to add that floral/resinous note.

Yep, I'm going to post a recipe calling for this tomorrow.

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 pods star anise
3/4 teaspoon szechuan OR black pepper (whole)
1 teaspoon fennel seed
a little grate of nutmeg (optional)
1 juniper berry (optional)

Mix the cinnamon and cloves and set them aside. Scrape in a few grains of nutmeg, if using.

Heat the star anise, Szechuan OR black peppercorns and fennel seed, and the juniper berry if using, in a small skillet over medium heat, until slightly toasted and aromatic, stirring regularly. Turn them out to cool at once, then grind them finely and add them to the cinnamon mixture.

Store in a cool, dark place until wanted; it is, of course, best to not make this until immediately before use but there will almost certainly be leftovers.

Last year at this time I made Roasted Garlic, and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

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