Making Homemade Chinese 5-Spice Powder
We're lucky enough to live down the street from a health food store that sells spices in bulk. So, when it comes to cooking we are two lucky, lucky people. We can go and buy small amounts of a lot of different spices and get out of there without spending more than 5 dollars. That allows us a lot of freedom to play with different spices and to create our own spice blends. For gifts this year, we made our own curry, Chinese five spice and Moorish blends for gifts and holiday cooking.
We gave all of the curry away without getting a photo of it. Which is too bad, because that was pretty epic to make; We didn't have an electric spice grinder at the time, so I toasted the spices and Jedd ground them through an old pepper mill. It took him an hour and a half, and by the end of the process he had band aids on all of his fingers for protection from blisters – and to protect the blisters that had already formed. Ouch. It was delicious, though. Then the birthday fairy miraculously brought me an electric grinder for an early birthday present and we delved into our next round of spice making, blister free.
And our next spice blend was this Chinese five spice recipe. Is it wrong to brag? If so, stop reading here.
This five spice recipe is spicy and fruity and drop-dead delicious. Try it on chicken and I guarantee you will swoon.
Five spice recipe
2 1/2 teaspoons whole Sichuan (Szechuan) peppercorns
8-10 "points" of star anise
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Toast the Sichuan peppercorns, star anise and fennel in a dry pan on medium-low heat, tossing or stirring regularly, until they release their aromas. (3-4 minutes.) Toast the whole spices separately if your pan won't hold a single layer of all the spices. Set aside to cool for several minutes.
Combine whole spices and ground spices in a grinder - a normal coffee grinder dedicated to spices works really well. Grind to a fine dust. A pepper mill also works, but is pretty labor intensive especially with large batches.
Store in an air-tight container. We re-use jars from olives, sauces, etc. for this purpose - just clean and dry them thoroughly.
(Yield approximately 4 tablespoons.)