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Chinese Five Spice Powder

The traditional Chinese Five Spice Powder is a mix of five (!) spices: Pepper, Cloves, Star Anis, Cinnamon and Fennel.

Five Spice Powder contains all five basic flavours: sweet, sour, salt, bitter and pungent. This potent mix of spices has a very strong taste and should be applied with care. Chinese 5 Spices Powder can be bought ready to use - in small can or pot - in a Chinese shop or in the better supermarket. The actual composition of ready-to-use Chinese 5 Spice Powder may vary.

Some products use additional spices and should better be named "Seven Spices Powder".

Mee Chun's Chinese 5-Spices Powder

In other ready made products, one or more of the spices have been replaced.

For example, in the Five Spices Powder made by the Mee Chun Canning Company (Hong Kong, see picture) the ground Cloves were replaced by Ginger powder.

Even if this does not seem true to tradition, the taste of Mee Chun's Five Spice Powder is actually quite good!

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Make Your Own Five Spice Powder!

You can easily make Chinese Five Spice Powder yourself. By grinding and mixing your own spices you will get a powder with the fullest possible flavour!

Here's the recipe:


2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon
3 teaspoons
3 teaspoons
Szechuan Pepper corns or
Black Pepper corns, roasted and ground fine;
Star Anis, roasted and ground fine;
Cloves, ground fine;
Cinnamon, broken, ground fine;
Fennel seed, ground fine;

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The Five Spice Powder recipe is prepared as follows:


Roast Pepper corns and Star Anis for two minutes in a dry hot frying pan or skillet;


Grind the Pepper corns and Star Anis in a mortar, coffee grinder or food-processor until it is a fine powder;


Break the Cinnamon stick to small pieces and grind in a mortar, coffee grinder or food-processor until it is a fine powder;


Grind Cloves and Fennel seeds to a fine powder;


Mix five spices together, and grind the whole blend once again until you have a smooth and uniform powder.

Stored dry, cool and dark in a tight closed jar, your own super Chinese Five Spice Powder will hold for weeks.

After that, the flavour of your super-powder will gradually decrease to the regular "supermarket quality".

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Pit Boss Suggestions:

Juancho uses Chinese Five Spice Powder in the following barbecue recipes:

Glazed Oriental Veal Spare Ribs

Photo of Glazed Oriental Veal Ribs by Blue Smoke BBQ These "low and slow" hot smoked and glazed Oriental Veal Ribs are spicy sweet and smoky. Even if veal ribs are much leaner than porkribs, and even if I cook them until they "fall off the bone", these slow food ribs will still be very tender and juicy.

Surinam Roast Pork

Photo of Surinam Pork Roast In Surinam this pork roast is called Losie Agoe Metie. My friend Edgar traditionally makes it on Christmas Eve. In the true Surinam tradition, everybody who comes around has to taste it.   And Brada! - it tastes góód!

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At Hot Smoke BBQ we love Chile Peppers!

Keep Smokin' !