Posts Tagged ‘how to make Chinese Five Spice Powder’

Most Commonly Used Favorite Herb Mixes–(we all want to know how to make up fresh at home)

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

The right combinations of herbs complement each other and enhance the foods they season. Spice mixtures often characterize regional and national cooking areas, flavoring all types of dishes. Below are some of the most well-known and used combinations in gourmet cooking throughout the world from standard ‘fines herbes’, ‘bouquet garni’ to sweet spice mixes for cakes, pies, etc. (Also included are some unique or hard to obtain recipes using your fresh from the garden herbs and spices, in the ‘Recipe’ category of betweenclosefriends.com blog.) Be sure to take a look for “Lavender Cookies”, “Bourisin Cheeses”, “Soyamilk”, and other favorites, or soon-to-be favorites!

To draw the full flavour from your home made spice mixtures, heat the ingredients very gently in a dry, heavy frying pan for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Then pound or grind the ingredients together. When your spice mix is cold, store it in an airtight container in a cool and dark place.

Ideally, your spice mixtures should be prepared just before using them in your cooking and baking. But, it is both useful and more convenient to keep some of your favorite mixtures stored in airtight containers. It is best to make up and store small quantities of your chosen mixes in order to ensure their unique flavours, and that they do not become stale. Below are some ‘specialty’ mixes, with the universally accepted standard classic combinations of ‘Classic Fresh Herb Cooking Combinations’ recipes following.

How to make Garam Masala (India). This is basically a ‘curry’ without the turmeric (which is responsible for the distinctive yellow colour associated with curries). For a very basic and simple combination, use equal amounts of cardamom, cumin, cinnamon; ½ amount of nutmeg; ¼ amount cloves

For a slightly more ‘robust’ recipe, try this version:

3 T black peppercorns

4 T coriander seeds

2 T caraway seeds

1 T cumin seeds

1 T whole cloves

2 T cardamom seeds

1 inch stick of cinnamon (or 1 T ground cinnamon)

and ¼ tsp ground hot chili pepper.

  1. To fully develop the flavours, gently roast the seeds together in a heavy skillet. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Once the aroma’s are developed, remove from the heat and cool.
  3. Then grind them together in a spice grinder.
  4. Store in an airtight container in your spice cupboard

Special Curry Rub—A mild, fragrant blend to use in place of store-bought curry powder.

3 T ground coriander

2 T ground cumin

1 T Turmeric

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp pepper

¼ tsp ground cloves

Measure all 8 ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well, Spoon into jar with tight-fitting lid. Makes about ½ cup

Directions for use Rub on beef, pork or poultry. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before cooking. For best flavour, rub on meat or poultry and chill for 4 hours before cooking.

How to make Five Spice Powder (China)—equal amounts of ground star anise, pepper, ground fennel seed, cloves and cinnamon.

FYI:This classic Chinese seasoning was developed to include all five tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and hot or pungent/spicy. This staple blend is often used in a technique called ‘flavour potting: Meat is steeped in a rich sauce and cooked for long hours. Some recipes use the above spices in equal porportions, others use more of one to heighten a specific flavour.

Star Anise is an essential ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder, helping to give this seasoning its unique flavour. It is the star-shaped fruit of a small evergreen tree native to China and is used extensively both in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. It is similar in flavor to anise because it contains the same essential oil, anethole, but is slightly stronger. Medicinally, it is a stimulant and a diuretic, and an infusion is thought to relieve a sore throat. This essential oil is used to flavor liquers such as anisette.

Five Spice Powder (Thai)

Roast together: 2 tsp peppercorns

3 star anise

6 cloves

4” stick cinnamon

3 tsp fennel seeds

Grind all ingredients in small mixer to make Thai Five Spice Powder. Sift through a sieve to get a fine powder.

Rice powder: Grind raw rice to make fine powder. The addition of rice flour to batters makes food crisp.


How to make a Cajun (American South) Spice Blend–One ‘secret’ blend of Cajun spice is the following:

2 T paprika

1 T each black and white peppercorns

1 tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp mustard seed

2 T cayenne pepper

¼ tsp ground thyme

2 tsp ground oregano

1 T garlic powder

1½ T onion powder

¼ cup of salt

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1. <!–[endif]–>Lightly roast the seeds and peppercorns in a heavy skillet. Then grind either with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>2. <!–[endif]–>Store any unused Cajun spice in a tight-fitting lidded jar between uses.

Chefs in New Orleans keep their specific and unique Cajun seasoning recipes under wraps, and have used their secrets to build the city’s reputation as the spicy culinary mecca of the American South. These creole-inpisred mixtures use ground spices and herbs, rather than whole, fresh ones. Cajun chefs have made these concoctions famous by rubbing them on fish and adding them liberally to gumbos, but you can also sprinkle them on anything from potatoes to salads.

How to make Chili Powder—equal amounts of one of the following: powdered chili and red pepper (Mexican); or cayenne and paprika; or cumin, cloves, marjoram and garlic powder

How to make BBQ Spice Mixture—For a very basic and simple version, you just add sugar to your choice of a selected chili powder mix above.

Again, for a little more complex recipe with more ‘kick’, try this version of a BBQ spice mixture:

2 T paprika

1 T garlic powder

1 T parsley flakes

1½ tsp sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ginger powder

1 T freshly ground salt

½ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients into a small bowl, mixing well.

Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid.

You can use this version sprinkled over beef, port, poultry or fish. For the most flavourful results, sprinkle your meat and chill for at least 4 hours before cooking. As a ‘quickie’ seasoning, let your BBQ’d-seasoned fare stand for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

How to make Standard Sweet Spice Mixture (for cakes, cookies, puddings, and pies)—Combine ¼ cup grated nutmeg with 2 T each of ground cloves, ground ginger, ground allspice, ground cinnamon and a pinch of black pepper

<!–[endif]–>