Despite the current political situation between the two countries, Chinese cuisine still is a favorite among several Indians and other Asians. Whether road side vendors or fine dining restaurants, Chinese cuisine still offers lip-smacking tastes to its buyers. If you have ever found yourself to be curious about what is used in this cuisine for taste, the answer to your query is Chinese five spice powder.
How did Chinese five spice powder come into being?
The five spice powder was born out of the Chinese philosophy of balancing five main flavors, which are salty, sour, sweet, pungent, and bitter. These flavors aptly represent fire, wood, metals, water, and earth- the five elements of nature.
Uses of five spice powder
Not just food, but even drinks can be enhanced using this ingredient. If you get five spice powder, it works well for:
- Cocktails as a warm and spicy kick
- Marinade for duck. pork, beef and chicken. It is an excellent seasoning for grilled chicken breasts, packing an excellent aromatic punch.
- All kinds of grilled and roasted meats
- It is most suitable in the form of a glaze for chicken, pork, or grilled ribs, with a tinge of brown sugar and honey
- Breads, muffins, and cookies by sprinkling over them
- Add special flavor to stir fries with this
- For spicy and sweet potato wedges, this is the perfect spice. The addition of the fiery and smoky chipotle powder is able to counter the sweet and warm taste from five spice powder. It would be a good idea to line the pan with parchment paper to prevent the chances of burning.
- Use it to add sweet notes to beef and broccoli, adding orange rind
- Savoury and sweet dishes by imparting a sweet and spicy flavor
- It imparts a great flavor to spiced nuts. You will be able to taste the distinct toastiness in these nuts after its addition.
- If you want a twist in the taste of your oatmeal, you can add it
- It can be used to prepare pickle brine
- Get depth in flavors of soups with this. You will be pleasantly surprised by the flavor it imparts to chicken noodle soup.
One can also spice up bland vegetarian snacks and entrees with the help of this magic spice. You can use them for sauces and in the form of marinades prior to frying tofu on the pan. Chinese five spiced apple chips, and five spice cranberry relish with goat cheese can be made using this ingredient.
Different aspects of taste
Each ingredient in the Chinese five spice powder contributes to the flavor in some way or the other. Here is a look at the varied taste attributes of every ingredient:
- Cloves impart a cooling sensation
- Szechuan peppercorns are able to add a peppery and numbing taste to the food. These peppercorns are not a type of pepper at all but a reddish-brown berry instead, which grows on the prickly ash bush. The first taste resulting from it is a spicy taste which numbs the tongue pretty quickly. In course of time, you will get hints of ginger and anise, and the taste will turn salty, lemony, and hot.
- Although cinnamon is sweet, it leaves behind a spicy aftertaste
- Ground cloves give a sweet and pungent flavor
- Fennel tastes sweeter and less pungent in comparison to anise
Use in moderation
Chinese five spice is immensely potent, which is why it is best used in moderation. To prevent it from losing its potency, it should be used in small quantities and stored in a dark and cool place. It has the potential to completely transform the dish you wish to prepare.
When you are able to balance flavors in your food in a mix like Chinese five spice, it is bound to augur well for your future cooking pursuits. If you notice, salt is not a component of this mixture at all, but one of the components here does create a salty flavor.
When looking to increase the saltiness of your dish, you could consider adding the five spice blend in the form of salt. Get a surprisingly warm flavor by added a dash of Chinese five spice powder to stir fries, salad dressings, or rice casseroles.
Benefits of using Chinese five spice powder
- In terms of food, the best way to incorporate complex Asian flavors into any dish without the addition of sugar or salt is possible through the Chinese five spice powder
- No significant calories are added with this powder
- As per traditional Chinese medicine, the five flavors in this powder are capable of encouraging proper organ function, stimulate appetite, and promote blood circulation
- A small amount of iron, calcium, and fiber is present in the blend
Has the article made you eager to get your hands on this spice as soon as possible? If the answer is yes, you can look at the websites of certain reputed companies which provides the Chinese five spice powder in the form of spice boxes or packets.