Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Vegetarian Recipe: Chinese Five Spice Quorn & Celery Stir Fry

If you've never tried a vegetarian Chinese recipe with Five Spice that might be because it's most often used with meats like chicken and beef. I first tried this flavour combination when I was still eating meat, in a Beef Stew simmering in a five spice sauce for 5 hours and the flavour of the spices was something I'd never experienced before! As a vegetarian, I don't think something so wonderful should be off limits so, I've decided to try it with vegetarian meat substitute, Quorn.
Because it's such a staple of Chinese cuisine, 'Chinese Five Spice' or simply '5 Spice' should be available in any good international food shop though the specific blend of spices may vary. Apparently the name is a reference, not to a specific number of spices, but rather a balance of five types of flavour: sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and salty. So while one recipe may include aniseed, fennel seed, ground cinnamon, whole cloves and whole peppercorns another might feature star anise or cumin or ginger. The mix that I used, was mostly cinnamon with coriander powder, bay leave powder, star anise powder and a hint of all spice.

I chose a stir fry as a first go because it's easy to control the flavours and I had a real hankering for cooked celery! I found that the mixture actually worked alot like a curry powder in that adding a little bit of water to it made a really thick sauce. I was interested to see how Quorn worked with seasoning and was pleasantly surprised.

Vegetarian Recipe: Chinese Five Spice Quorn & Celery Stir Fry

1 tbsp cooking oil
2 celery stalks
1 spring onion or chive stalk
1 green pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of Quorn pieces or 1 cubed Quorn fillet
1 tsp of Chinese Five Spice
1 cup of water
 2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
Also, before beginning my prep, I put on the rice in the rice cooker, so it's all ready when the stir fry is done. 

  1. Chop celery and green pepper into bite sized pieces. Finely chop green onion and garlic.
  2. Heat oil in pan and add vegetables with Quorn pieces at the same time on medium heat. 
  3. Cook for a few minutes until the celery begins to soften. Next add the five spice to the mixture stirring until well coated.
  4. Don't let the stir fry dry out, use your cup of water (I added a few drops of soy sauce to this) to create a nice sauce by slowly adding to the mixture as it cooks.
  5. Stir regularly and taste to make sure it's to your liking. If it's too sweet, add a bit of vinegar. Too bitter, add some soy sauce. I found that I need to to top up with a bit of garlic powder but key is to keep flavouring it as you go along.
  6. When the rice is ready and the veg is nice an soft, then it's time to eat.


  1. This looks great and I've got curious for the taste of this recipe. I should buy now the ingredients of this so that I can make this recipe later.

    Easy Stir Fry