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What Is Chinese Five-Spice Powder?

Definition: Five-Spice Powder

A crucial component of Chinese cooking, five-spice powder (also known as Chinese five spice) is a mixture of ground spices that combine the five primary flavors of Chinese cuisine: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and pungent.

The five spices — cinnamon, cloves, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, and either fennel seed or ginger — are employed based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing the yin and yang in food. The powder is used to flavor dishes from Cantonese roasted duck to beef stew.

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