Five Reasons to Love and Use Chinese 5 Spice Powder!Main Course / February 5, 2016
Isn’t that a gorgeous dish? YUMMMM. A little 5 spice powder and some other Asian ingredients and you are set. But what the heck is 5 Spice Powder?
For the average nose, the whiff from a container of 5 Spice Powder is pleasantly overwhelming. So many exotic aromas coming at you all at once. But that’s what’s so cool about it! And also, what makes cooking with it kind of daunting. Never fear! I have 5 reasons that will make you grab for the bottle and the spatula. Get ready to count with me:
Reason One – The perfect balance of flavors — Okay, so if I began this blog by telling you to amass Whole Star Anise, Cinnamon Sticks, Cloves, Whole Dried Fennel and Szechwan Peppercorn, and then grind them to powder, you would have left the room and been on your way to Wendy’s before I could say Chop Suey. This is about trust; about understanding that having all these flavors together conjures up a much different experience than if you tried to blend them alone. Go with it, trust it, experiment. You will love how they taste in your finished dish without any of the flavors being over-pronounced.
Reason Two – Asian flavors go with everything! – This medley of spices has gone far beyond just Chinese cooking. In Hawaii they place a shaker of it on the table. It goes with almost any poultry or game meat. It bridges the gap and creates layers of flavor. Case in point. By adding it to ground turkey (what could be more American!) you elevate a texture and a protein to Ming Dynasty status. Well, maybe not Ming, but you’ll be searching for chop sticks in no time.
Reason Three – It is very versatile! – Try this, take kosher salt and an equal amount of 5 spice powder and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast in a 400 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. The flavors will meld beautifully and you will have a seasoning salt that will rock your world.
Reason Four – Fool Your Friends – Unless you only dine with Foodies, it might be fun to have people guess the flavors in 5 Spice Powder. Only a few will detect the licorice-like flavor of fennel, but most will never really taste the cinnamon. A testament to why cinnamon has been around FOR. EV. ER. (And you thought it was just for breakfast!)
And Reason Five – So you can make my Chinese 5 Spice Turkey Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce!!!!
You were expecting me to miss an opportunity for shameful self-promotion?