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5 spice powder is a blend made by combining five spices. It is a common flavoring agent in Asia and some parts of the Middle East. Most cooks use the traditional Chinese recipe but you can replace some ingredients with your own. Learn how to make 5 spice powder at home and add a flavor twist to your cuisine.
Ingredients in Traditional 5 Spice Powder
The most popular recipe of this powder combines Chinese cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds and Sichuan pepper. Please note that there are different kinds of cinnamon. Many people confuse Chinese cinnamon with the Indonesian and cassia spices. If you can’t tell them apart, ask for it by name.
Health Benefits of 5 Spice Powder
The spices used were not just chosen for their flavors. They each have medicinal properties that draw strength from different nutrients.
Chinese cinnamon has been used as a natural remedy for fungal and bacterial infections for centuries. Its medicinal powers extend beyond infections to accelerate the healing of wounds. In some studies, it was found to improve blood sugar maintenance in diabetics and help process fat in overweight participants.
Cloves are considered natural anesthetics and are often used to numb gums in dental patients. The spice’s anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial for people with bone and joint conditions, and stomach ulcers. It is also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese.
A star ingredient of 5 spice powder is star anise, an herb commonly used as an expectorant. Used to improve breathing, it is used to treat respiratory illnesses like asthma, bronchitis and coughs. Star anise also benefits the digestive system by relieving bloating and stomach discomfort.
Fennel seeds are great additions to a meal because they help process food, bulk up stool and prevent bile salts from re-entering the colon. They are also filled with antioxidants to shield you from disease and premature aging.
This spice brings a lot of nutritional value to the recipe with its fiber, vitamins and minerals. It boasts high concentrations of vitamin A, B, C and E as well as zinc, calcium, selenium, copper, iron, magnesium and manganese.
Sichuan pepper adds more than just a zing to the spice mix. It contains unique oils that facilitate digestion and a long list of minerals for your overall wellbeing. Phosphorus, potassium, selenium and vitamin A dominate this spice’s nutritional profile.
You can play around with the original recipe and experiment with other spices to find your perfect blend. Some prefer replacing traditional ingredients with ginger, turmeric, licorice. You can also try nutmeg and orange peel in place of cloves.
How to Make 5 Spice Powder
Making 5 Spice powder is all about the quality and quantity of ingredients. Fresh spices are always best. Add one cinnamon stick, one tablespoon pepper (Sichuan), 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, 7 pieces star anise and 2 teaspoons whole cloves.
Add all ingredients to a pan and place on medium heat. When fennel seeds darken, remove from heat and allow the mix to cool. Transfer your 5 spice powder to a coffee bean or regular grinder and blend to perfection.