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Monday, October 22, 2012

Homemade Chinese Five Spice Powder

I don't generally buy my spices from the grocery store. I have so many different exotic spices in my cabinet- most of the spices I use I can't even find in the standard grocery store. On top of that, I find that grocery stores generally overprice spices so much.
Where I go spice shopping, its a full experience. Spices, herbs, grains, and legumes are set out in large bowls on display for everyone to see and get enticed. Some of the spices there are ones everyone knows, like cinnamon, paprika, and garlic, and some are far more exotic, like frankincense. The smells wafting over to me from the various bowls, the colors, the differentness- these all entice me to want to try them out, even if I'd never heard of them before.
Star anise was one of those. Its six pointed star, smelling of black licorice, made me so curious about its uses, made me want to try it out. I'd heard that it was used in something called "Chinese Five Spice Powder", but having no idea how to use that seasoning, I just left it. That is, until I read a recipe using Chinese five spice powder on a blog I read- wild boar with char siu- Chinese barbecue sauce. This BBQ sauce recipe sounded so delicious that it made me salivate and try it out. I researched other ways of making char siu, because I didn't have all those ingredients in Hank Shaw's recipe. But I did have the necessary ingredients to make something very similar. Other than the Chinese five spice powder.

I went to the store, picked out the ingredients with which to make my Chinese 5 spice powder, made char siu and served it with chicken gizzards. No question about it- the yummiest chicken gizzards I've eaten in my life. And my husband agrees with me.

So, how do you make Chinese five spice powder?


Easy.

Ingredients:
6 long sticks of cinnamon
5-6 chunks of star anise
1/4-1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
4-5 cloves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds.

Instructions:
1. Stick all the spices in  a coffee grinder, blend them, use them.

Very simple.
That's it.



I've also made chicken with five spice powder and soy sauce. It was pretty good, but not as good as my char shiu.

Have you ever used or make chinese five spice powder. What do you use it for? 

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