Chinese Five Spice…What Is It??

Jul 31, 2023Aeran Schmid

This ancient spice blend has been around for thousands of years and was used primarily in traditional Chinese cuisine. The dishes that use this spice are more traditional dishes than the North Americanized Chinese dishes of chicken balls and chicken fried rice. If you have ever tried Peking Duck than you have tried Chinese 5 Spice. It also sometimes added to curries. Think earthy deep flavours that pair well with sweet and spicy sauces.

Originally the Chinese 5 Spice was created as a super spice to end all spice blends. It was meant to balance all 5 flavours of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy. Not because it contains 5 different spices. The number 5 was also significant to the Chinese because it denotes the 5 elements of nature: fire, water, earth, wood, and metal.5 was a sacred number and the 5 flavours of the Chinese 5 spice were meant to help the body reach optimal health. Chinese philosophers also believed that eating dishes with harmonious flavours would harmonize the mind. Although traditionally this spice blend was Chinese created the spice blend has been also become part of Vietnamese and Hawaiian cuisine.

Whether you believe in the power of Chinese 5 Spice or just want to explore a new and unique taste experience grab a package of Chinese 5 spice and head to the kitchen. You can incorporate the spice blend into "balancing, warming, savory and sweet dishes"

This spice blend was originally used in slowly simmered dishes that featured a fatty meat such as duck or pork, but its use has been expanded to be a variety of dishes. This blend is very powerful and you only need to add a pinch. 

Try adding it to :

  • Sweet Potato wedges
  • Glazed carrots
  • 5 spice pickled carrots
  • Add it to your stirfry
  • Add it to a sweet and sour sauce
  • Make a rub from salt and Chinese 5 Spice blend and rub onto chicken thighs
  • Try it on pork chops

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