28 Nov2006

Five Spice Powder

by Marketman

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Part of the added stress of living and cooking in Manila is the lack of reliable and well-stocked groceries and provedores. I needed some five-spice powder the five2other day and waited until the last minute to check to see if I still had some. Of course I didn’t and in a slight panic, rushed off to Landmark grocery that almost always has it. Of course they didn’t. So I took a wild guess and grabbed some star anise and coriander seeds and hoped for the best. Back home, the internet yielded the five spices I needed – cinnamon, star anise, cloves, szechuan peppercorns and fennel seeds. I had everything except fennel seeds and substituted anise seeds instead (the latter being lest sweet). Don’t ask me why I guessed coriander to be among the required spices. I all the five spices in a mini blitzer and voila!, homemade five spice powder! It certainly looked like the stuff I needed, it smelled like the stuff I needed, and I hoped it tasted like the stuff I wanted! If you want the maximum aroma from the szechuan peppercorns, toast them a bit before blitzing them… I suppose this is the chinese equivalent of the French quatre-epices. The recipe using five spice powder, coming up…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Christine says:

    Looks like you’re preparing to make masala chai! Can’t wait to find out what you’re making. :)

    Nov 29, 2006 | 1:33 am

     
  2. Maria Clara says:

    Your creative impulse and resourcefulness is immeasurable. If you cannot get your hands on five star spice you proceed with Plan B – improvise one and comes up even better than what it calls for. I totally agree with you unavailability of the ingredient is not an excuse any more for executing a recipe. The idea is right in our mind so the magic word is Improvise one, we do not need to reinvent the wheel.

    Nov 29, 2006 | 1:43 am

     
  3. Mandy says:

    i wonder if you’ve visited that spice shop at market market? it’s called spices and flavours. lori of dessert comes first wrote about it months ago. i’ve been meaning to go look at the shop, but i hardly ever go to market market. if you have gone there, what’s your opinion about this shop? good ba, too expensive, not enough choices? :)

    Nov 29, 2006 | 2:03 am

     
  4. peanut says:

    We love our vietnamese noodle soup and a vietnamese friend of mine said that five spice powder is added just before the soup is served with hoisin sauce.

    I have made the vietnamese combination noodle soup with the five spice added at the end and indeed it tasted close if not better to the one at our favorite vietnamese restaurant.

    A lot of Aussies are favoring the vietnameese style of cooking these days as it is not greasy.

    I love their fresh spring roll too with mint and coriander.

    Nov 29, 2006 | 5:25 am

     
  5. millety says:

    chinese five-spice powder is the key ingredient in ngo hiong (or que kiam/kikiam). but i have always used the store-bought kind, and i know a lot of the aroma and flavor are lost in storage. since very little is required for a recipe, my quarter-kilo of powder sits in the cupboard for a long time. did freshly-blitzed taste any different in the dish, MM?

    Nov 29, 2006 | 6:47 am

     
  6. Lei says:

    Mandy, MM already made a post on the spice shop found at Market! Market! Just go through the archive, you can find it there. =)

    Nov 29, 2006 | 9:22 am

     
  7. Jaja says:

    Improvising is the way to go! =) I’ve been to Spices and Flavours at Market!Market!. They do have a good selection of spices and salts as well as teas. They even have dried galangal(?), kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass. I just have to warn you, medyo overpowering yung halu-halong amoy ng mga stuff nila and they have this air freshener thing na mint yung scent so medyo mahapdi din sa eyes at first. I can say the place is worth a visit especially for foodies:D

    Nov 29, 2006 | 9:24 am

     
  8. Mila says:

    Spices and Flavours also has a kiosk at Salcedo Market. Ask for a taste of their salt selection and olive oils (from Spain, Syria, Palestine). The owner also said she’s expecting balsamic vinegar (aged 5, 10, 25 years).

    Nov 29, 2006 | 10:36 am

     
  9. RobKSA says:

    Does five spice powder have expiration? I bought some in Houston sometime in 1999. I still have it but not using it anymore but is not throwing it either. I could not see an expiration date written on it.

    Nov 29, 2006 | 11:52 am

     
  10. connie says:

    RobKSA, I read somewhere that you should replace your dried herbs every 6 months as they begin to loose potency after six months. Dried herbs have presumeably been stored for a period of time in warehouses and then in supermarkets before you purchase them. Storing releases volatile oils so you might get a less potent flavor with long period of storage. Truth is, I find it hard adhering to this rule myself although once a year re-organizing the pantry works for me. When it does not smell strong, I just discard it, or when some spices get clumpy, they obviously need replacing.

    As for the dish, so is it roasted duck? Spareribs? Cornish hen? Is it Szechuan cooking ala MM? LOL.

    Nov 29, 2006 | 1:33 pm

     
  11. tulip says:

    Five spice powder like any other spices do expire. And spices stored for such a long time looses its flavor. And though there are expiration dates on some spice bottles and packs, its best to check its smell, texture and color every time you use it. Fungus might have already grown on it. Usually I keep dried or powdered herbs and spices for 6 months to a year.

    Nov 29, 2006 | 1:39 pm

     
  12. RobKSA says:

    Thanks guys. As mentioned I don’t use it anymore but sometimes is tempted to use it. Time to throw them I guess.

    Nov 29, 2006 | 2:07 pm

     
  13. joey says:

    “Part of the added stress of living and cooking in Manila is the lack of reliable and well-stocked groceries and provedores.” — You said it! Although I have some favorites it’s still a wild card…I never know if I am going to find what I want :(

    Thanks for passing on the five spice recipe! I have been wanting to try it with duck!

    Nov 29, 2006 | 6:28 pm

     
  14. Mandy says:

    thanks lei! i probably missed reading that. :)

    Nov 30, 2006 | 1:58 pm

     
  15. Marketman says:

    Hi Everyone, Mila says they have five spice powder at Flavors n Spices at Market!Market!

    Dec 1, 2006 | 9:51 pm

     
  16. angie says:

    so true… what more in the provinces where it is difficult to find ingredients especially for baking. =(

    May 6, 2007 | 9:12 am

     
 

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