In theory, five spice (also known as Chinese Five or 5 Spice Powder), came about as a result of the Chinese philosophy of balancing the five main flavors of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent. These flavors were representative of all the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
Traditionally, Chinese five spice is a blend of cinnamon, ground cloves, fennel seeds, star anise and Szechuan pepper. Although, in other countries, specifically in Arabic cookery, they may use a blend seven spices made with different ingredients, such as allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, fenugreek, nutmeg and ginger. Continue reading