I’m allergic to fresh fennel, but does that include fennel seeds, too? I decided to err on the side of caution and not use a premade blend of 5-spice powder in a recent recipe. (One of the five spices is fennel seeds.) Instead, I made my own “4-Spice” blend and you know what? It was amazing.
As I ground up the cloves, star anise, pepper, and cinnamon, the aroma in our kitchen was fragrant and perfumy.
Here’s a recipe, just in case you want to make some for yourself. From thekitchn.com. Makes approximately ¼ cup.
Chinese Five-Spice Blend
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns (or generic peppercorns)
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken into a few pieces
In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the anise, peppercorns, cloves, fennel, until fragrant. Swirl the pan gently and toss the seeds occasionally to prevent burning. Allow to cool.
Add the seeds and cinnamon sticks to a spice grinder. Grind for twenty seconds until a fine powder is formed. If large pieces remain, grind for another 5 - 10 seconds.
Store the blend in an airtight spice jar out of the light. It’s best to make small batches so that the blend is still very fresh when you use it, but the spice blend will also store for several months.