One of the key balancing acts in Chinese cooking is five spice powder, a ground mixture of generally equal parts cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns. The sweet star anise tends to take center stage, but the other spices keep him in check with their own distinctive tastes.
Legend has it that five spice powder was developed centuries ago with sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty flavors in hopes of creating the ultimate “wonder powder.” Using the number five was no coincidence either. In Chinese numerology five is lucky. With luck and balance, what more could you possibly need?
— By Emily Arno