Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Do you know how many spices are in Chinese Five Spice?

The true story of how five-spice began is lost to history, there are however, two main stories. Some say the Chinese were attempting to produce a “wonder powder” using all five flavors – sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty.  Some say it was used in traditional Chinese medicine and the 5 is for five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water.  The Chinese believe that an imbalance in these elements, are the cause of disease in the human body. Whichever group you choose to believe is up to you. However there are more than 5 spices in Chinese five spice.

The most common recipes call for fennel, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns, however you will also find ginger, nutmeg, and even licorice. Some use cassia which is a member of the cinnamon family and some use licorice in place of the star anise.
Now that we know that there are more than 5 spices in Chines Five spice let see what we can make!
Chocolate Fondue
Sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter come together in this decadent chocolate fondue recipe.
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur, or to taste
  • Biscotti pieces (raspberry is good), Ladyfingers, or pound cake for dipping
Coarsely chop the chocolate. If you have a double boiler, melt the chocolate, whipping cream and sugar in the top half of the boiler. If not, half-fill a heavy saucepan with water and heat until barely simmering. Place the chocolate, whipping cream and sugar in a metal bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the simmering water. Turn the heat down to low and melt the chocolate, stirring constantly and making sure the chocolate doesn't burn.

Pour the mixture into a fondue pot and stir in the cinnamon, chili powder, five-spice powder, and finally the Amaretto. Keep the fondue warm on low heat. Swirl in the sour cream just before serving.

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