Recipe Requested 5 spice mixture?

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Bert2368

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Interested in trying to compound my own 5 spice mixture. I've got a basic list of ingredients, most of which are already in my kitchen:

Star anise

Cloves

Chinese cinnamon

Sichuan (Szechuan) peppercorns

Fennel seed

I've got Ceylon cinnamon on hand, rather than Chinese. Don't yet have Szechuan peppercorns, do have some Indian "long pepper". Are these reasonable substitutions?

Finding that some on line recipes use MORE than 5 ingredients?!

I would welcome suggestions on ingredients and relative proportions from any with experience. I've enjoyed Chinese dishes seasoned with this mixture but not yet used it myself- Started down this road when a recipe for pasta sauce with 5 spice powder caught my eye:


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Michi

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Chinese cinnamon is stronger than Ceylon cinnamon, so you will need to adjust quantities a bit. For the Szechuan pepper, half black pepper and half coriander would work, or use your long pepper. But there really is no truly good substitute; I’d make the effort and get some Szechuan peppercorn.
 
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9mmbhp

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I would welcome suggestions on ingredients and relative proportions from any with experience. I've enjoyed Chinese dishes seasoned with this mixture but not yet used it myself- Started down this road when a recipe for pasta sauce with 5 spice powder caught my eye:
 

Bert2368

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Thanks all!

I have ordered some ground cassia (Chinese cinnamon) and red Szechuan pepper.

Did a little research on the Szechuan pepper, discovered that the desirable part is only the "pericarp" (ovary/fruit/seed coating), one does not want the actual seed that grew inside, much less the twigs they grew on- Kind of like mace (the spice consisting of the pericarps of nutmeg seeds, not the chemical irritant brand used by USA riot police).

Found a brand reputed to provide only the desirable seed cover, not the gritty seeds/twigs & etc.

 

rickbern

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Bert, I’ve always used the whole shebang. From fuschia Dunlop (hope this is acceptable @Angie)

“Sichuan pepper (huajiao 花椒) This ancient spice is still the region’s most distinctive flavoring (see p. 14 for a detailed description). The berries of a woody shrub that grows in mountainous areas (Zanthoxylum simulans and some other varieties), Sichuan pepper is actually a member of the citrus family, and it is unrelated to regular pepper. The dried berries are pink and pimply on the outside, pale within.

Sometimes you will see the glossy black seeds too, but they have no taste and can be discarded. The pepper is sizzled in oil, often with dried chiles, to flavor wok-cooked dishes. It can also be roasted and ground, then used as a dip or a sprinkle for hot or cold foods. Sichuan pepper is also used in spice mixes, and added to stocks and marinades to dispel the rankness of meat, poultry and fish.”
 

Bert2368

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Bert, I’ve always used the whole shebang.
I noted statements by some that the hard seed bits don't soften on cooking and gave a gritty texture if left in?

Plus, if you're buying by weight, seeds are relatively heavy and don't add to the flavor?

OTOH, I'm clearly buying a "value added product" for several times the price of the unseparated bulk stuff, economically, might be better to get the whole shebang and separate myself if I find it matters, texture wise-
 

Jovidah

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Chinese cinnamon is stronger than Ceylon cinnamon, so you will need to adjust quantities a bit. For the Szechuan pepper, half black pepper and half coriander would work, or use your long pepper. But there really is no really good substitute; I’d make the effort and get some Szechuan peppercorn.
Very good point about the difference between cassia and cinnemon. Not only that, but in my experience they also tend to behave different in liquids too. 'Real' cinnamon can turn sauce a bit gloopy when used in powdered form, cassia tends not to do that, at least in my experience. Proper cinnamon has more flavor though.

For what it's worth, at least over here it's worth knowing what they look like if you want either specific variety; most 'cinnamon' sold here actually is cassia and they're not really differentiated as such on the labels.
 

rocketman

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An interesting aside about Szechuan pepper, Zanthoxylum simulans, is that here is Texas we have a very similar tree, Zanthoxylum clava-herculis. Known historically as the tooth ache tree.. If you chew a small piece of the bark, or stick yourself with one of the thorns, you get the same sensation as with the
Chinese variety... This summer I collected a bunch of the seeds, female tree only, and after a period of drying separated the pericarp from the seed. The pericarp, about the size of a #9 birdshot, when chewed absolutely tastes very citrusy, and then the numbing sensation starts. Within 20 seconds your tongue and mouth has an almost numb sensation... Hence the use for toothache historically. Compared to the simulans purchased, not that distant in effect.
 

Bert2368

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An interesting aside about Szechuan pepper, Zanthoxylum simulans, is that here is Texas we have a very similar tree, Zanthoxylum clava-herculis. Known historically as the tooth ache tree.. If you chew a small piece of the bark, or stick yourself with one of the thorns, you get the same sensation as with the
Chinese variety...
Cool, have you tried cooking with it yet?

I did find that several garden stores in USA and Britain offered seedlings of Zanthoxylum simulans, with claims of it being somewhat cold hardy- Szechuan IS North China, after all.

I think MN is a little too cold, it's not SIBERIAN pepper.

(Edit)

A relative lives in MN, ALSO called "toothache tree". BUT it isn't reported that the berries contain α-sanshool, the claimed active numbing/tingling/hot ingredient?

Zanthoxylum americanum




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rocketman

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I would say that the Texas variety is not bitter, as reported of the Minnesota variety.
The tree is also the larval food plant for giant swallowtail butterfly.
Also, clava-herculis does not have the red paricarp.. Green..Seed is like a polished black # 7 shot.
If you would like to try , or should I say dare, try, the Texas variety, it would be easily available ,
just a little in a plain brown wrapper , discretely to your mail box. Sounds like an old add for
pornography.
wak
 
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