Chinese food,  Main and side dishes

Chinese glazed carrots, with traditional 5-spice mix.

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These Chinese glazed carrots are fabulous as a side dish with a Chinese or Asian style dinner. They are sweet, bitter and pungent because of the use of the Chinese 5-spice mix.

This side dish matches very well with many hot spicy dishes. It balances out the different flavours and tones down the spice with its sweetness.

So what about the 5-spice mix

The Chinese five-spice mix is used a lot in the Chinese cuisine. It represents the 5 flavours of sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty. Traditionally this 5 spice mix only uses 5 spices. As the name suggests. But currently you can buy Chinese five-spice mix with sometimes containing up to 7 or 8 spices.

The standard and most common mix includes;

  • Star anise
  • cloves
  • Chinese cinnamon
  • fennel seeds
  • Sichuan peppercorns

Sometimes you might find mixes in which they added are substituted with;

  • anise seeds
  • ginger root
  • turmeric
  • nutmeg
  • licorice

It can be very interesting to experiment and make your own preferred mix.

To make this Chinese 5-spice mix. You can use whole spices, and toast them in a medium hot pan. Once cooled down a bit you grind the spices by hand or with a machine. Sieve the mixture so you end up with a nice finely ground mix.

Of course when using already ground spices you can just mix them to your liking without toasting nor grinding. All though using whole spices might seem more work, your end result will be better.

I made my five-spice mix using;

  • 5 start anise
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • cinnamon stick (7 cm / 3 inch)
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns

Keep this mixture in an airtight jar for 3 – 4 months. You can use it in any Chinese style dishes. But use it sparsely. A little goes a long way…

dish with Chinese glazed carrots made with Chinese 5-spice mix

Back to the Chinese glazed carrots

With the right preparation this dish is ready in a matter of minutes (about 10). It is best enjoyed fresh from the wok, or pan. It brings a nice colour to your table, and it pairs beautifully with spicy foods.

This carrot recipe is part of my series; ‘Travels of taste‘. We use our taste buds to travel the world. If you are ready to imagine yourself travelling through China’s landscape and discover its diverse cuisine. Check out my full China ‘travels of taste’ post; >>> China, It’s all about FOOD!

Let me know if you made your own creation of this glazed carrot dish. I always love to see others creations. Add @haricoco1 to your Instagram, so we can share and inspire each other and others. Thanks, and ENJOY!

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