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Quick Fix: Five-spice powder is the star in this simple veggie stir-fry

August 26, 2023 at 10:00 p.m.
Five-Spice Vegetable Stir-Fry with Peanuts. (Linda Gassenheimer/TNS)

Five-spice powder gives a pungent, aromatic flavor to stir-fried vegetables. The powder is a mixture of five ground spices usually consisting of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns. It adds the exciting flavors of Chinese cuisine to this simple vegetarian dinner.

The secret to wok cooking at home is to make sure the wok is very hot. The oil should be smoking. Also, when the ingredients are added wait several seconds for the wok to regain its heat before stirring them.

Helpful Hints:

-- You can substitute walnuts, almonds, or pecans for peanuts.

-- You can find Chinese five-spice powder in the spice section of the market.

-- You can use angel hair pasta instead of Chinese noodles.


-- Prepare all the ingredients.

-- Place water for noodles on to boil.

-- Stir-fry the vegetables and remove to a bowl.

-- Boil the noodles, drain and add to the wok.

-- Plate the noodles and add the vegetables on top.

Shopping List:

To buy: 1 bottle Chinese rice vinegar, 1 bottle Chinese five-spice powder, 1 bottle low-sodium soy sauce, 1 container cornstarch, 1 bottle sesame oil, 1 jar honey, 1 bunch broccoli florets, 1 small bok choy, 1 bag snow peas, 1 red bell pepper, 1 bottle unsalted, dry roasted peanuts and 1 container Chinese noodles.

Staples: garlic.


Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

3 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar

2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder

5 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon cornstarch

3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided use

2 cups broccoli florets

2 cups sliced bok choy, including the green and white stalks

2 cups snow peas

1 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 pound Chinese noodles

1/2 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts

Place a large saucepan three quarters filled with water on to boil. Mix vinegar, Chinese five-spice powder, garlic, soy sauce, honey, water and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a wok or skillet over high heat until smoking. Add the broccoli and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the bok choy, snow peas and red bell pepper. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the sauce and continue to stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Meanwhile add the noodles to the boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Drain the noodles and add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the wok or skillet. Add the drained noodles and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the noodles between two dinner plates. Add the stir-fried vegetables on top and sprinkle the peanuts over the vegetables.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 612 calories (40% from fat), 27.5 g fat (4.2 g saturated, 13 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 25.1 g protein, 71.9 g carbohydrates, 10.6 g fiber, 847 mg sodium.

(Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks, including her newest, "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook." Listen to Linda on and all major podcast sites. Email her at [email protected].)

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