Eat Empowered

3 Asian Spices You Need In Your Pantry


Bored of basil, garlic and thyme? I just know you’ve got some Asian spices in your pantry somewhere that are dying to be dusted off and put into action. 

There’s the Chinese Five Spice for that one recipe you saw in a magazine and it’s been there (minus one half teaspoon) since Easter.

You’ve got a pouch of miso paste on your refrigerator shelf from your one semi-successful attempt at udon soup last month, and your sesame oil may date back a ways (New Years?), but you’re sure it’s still good.

Starting today, stop giving all your love to the dried basil and oregano and give your long overlooked Asian spices a fair shake (ha!).

3 Asian Spices You Need In Your Pantry

Chinese Five Spice. For that Chinese Five Spice, which is a flavor wonderland made up of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise and szechuan peppercorns, the potential is endless.

My favorite version is to rub it into a pork tenderloin or shake it over chicken and grill it to perfection. If you’re feeling really adventurous, use it in a sorbet for dessert. It’s that whole sweet and spicy thing that works.

Miso Paste. Pull that container of miso paste out and miso glaze your veggies before tossing them on the grill. A kinda perfect change from all that olive oil and sea salt you’ve been grilling with. It can also be used as a marinade on salmon or cod for a little earthy, in a good way, flavor. 

Sesame Oil. You only need a hint of sesame oil to bring on some crazy flavor. In the winter, sesame oil is my go to for a veggie stir fry. During the summer, I use it to make poke, which is kind of like a Hawaiian version of ceviche or tartar.

You marinate raw fish in sesame oil, soy sauce, onions and toasted sesame seeds for the most ridiculously intense flavor. You can eat it on salad, wrapped in seaweed, or on top of radicchio leaves.

So, no need to order in next time you’re craving something with Asian spices. And no need to neglect those poor containers of flavor that keep playing second fiddle to your go-tos. Share the love and pass the chopsticks please!

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