How to Use Chinese 5-Spice Powder

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Chinese 5-spice powder is an important element of Chinese cuisine and is used in meat dishes and sauces. It consists of a blend of equal amounts of star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and fennel seeds. Blends vary, however, and sometimes ginger or black cardamom replace one of the other ingredients -- the version with ginger in particular is often used for desserts. You can make your own powder by grinding all the ingredients with a pestle and mortar.

In a Stir-Fry

Add a selection of vegetables and other ingredients to the frying pan or wok and stir-fry them for a few minutes.

Sprinkle a teaspoon of 5-spice powder over the ingredients.

Stir well and continue to fry until ready.

For Rubbing on Meat

In a bowl, mix a few teaspoons of 5-spice powder with salt. The quantity of the spice powder and the salt depends on how much meat you will be cooking.

Rub the blend all over the meat and let it marinade for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. This will work especially well with duck, pork and chicken.

Grill, fry or roast the meat as desired.


Mix the ingredients for a cake in a bowl, along with a teaspoon of 5-spice powder before placing in the oven to bake. It is particularly suited to spiced cakes and apple pies.

Make a cake frosting and add some 5-spice powder to add a hint of spice to your cake.

Stew pears or apples in red wine and 5-spice powder.