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Food glossary

A variety of spices

Chinese five spice powder

This traditional mixture of golden brown spices consists of a blend of Szechuan pepper, star anise, cinnamon, fennel seeds, and cloves in equal quantities - the star anise is the strongest flavour in the mix. A well-blended mixture should be spicy and slightly sweet and have a fragrant aroma. The five ingredients represent the five basic tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, salt, and pungent.

Uses: It can be used as a meat rub or in marinades for chicken and pork dishes with soy sauce and garlic. It is the traditional spice used to season Chinese spare ribs. For a Chinese-style roast, baste a whole chicken with Chinese five spice powder and butter, before roasting.

To store: Store in cool, dark, dry place in an airtight jar.