The Spice Trade

Industry insider knowledge, and usage tips on spices and other ingredients

Recipe: Star Anise Panna Cotta

Star Anise Panna Cotta

A few weeks ago, when I told my friend that I’d be writing recipe articles for Regency Spices, her immediate reaction was, “It must be difficult to come up with a recipe everyday using spices. I don’t even know how to use star anise!” Star anise. Yes, star anise, a lovely looking star shaped fruit, is not a common spice in everyday cooking. In Sichuan where my husband is originally from, star anise is used frequently including their famous Sichuan hot pot. But for now, for my friend and those who love sweets, I like to share one easy dessert recipe using … keep reading

Recipe: Hummus


If you make peanut butter at home, then making hummus (chickpea paste) should be a piece of cake for you 😉 I have tried other types of beans such as lentils, but I have always come back to chickpeas. Most often I use hummus in place of meat to add nutty and fatty flavor to go with a dish. Dishes I have tried hummus with include tacos, nachos, quesadilla, sandwich and what not. Of course it goes very well with fresh vegetable sticks. I often overeat celery with hummus because they are so good! This recipe uses a food processor, but it can be … keep reading

Recipe: Herb Tea Mixture (Six Blends)

Herb Tea Mixture

When I was writing this article, I remembered a dialogue from a TV show which I watched in Japan more than a decade ago. It went like:           Man A: “Chinese foods are so oily. How do they stay fit?”           Man B: “They drink tea with their meal to wash it away.” I don’t quite remember whether it was a health program or a TV commercial for oolong tea. Yet, I also find Chinese foods a lot oilier than Japanese dishes. But these oily Chinese cuisines taste so good. Whenever I … keep reading

Recipe: Mustard Shrimp

Mustard Shrimp

Because my husband loves shrimp, I’ve tested a variety of shrimp dishes in my kitchen, and this mustard shrimp is among my favorites. The combination of wholegrain mustard with garlic and cayenne pepper is mouthwatering. I personally like this one over the garlic shrimp I cook. I hope you will like it 😀 Tips: (1) Deveining process can be a bit messy for those trying it the first time. You can purchase peeled and deveined ones to save your trouble. (2) Coriander can substituted with parsley. Recipe: Mustard Shrimp Serving: 3 Ingredients 600g shrimps, peeled and deveined 4 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tsp of garlic granules … keep reading

Recipe: Creamy Thyme Cottage Cheese

Creamy Dill Cottage Cheese

About five years ago, I was working as an interpreter for a client based in Switzerland. When I met this client for the first time, this gentleman presented me with home-made Swiss cheese. He said they were made by his neighbor and showed me a picture of a cow which belonged to his neighbor. The cow looked sort of funny in the picture, but the cheese! The cheese was superb. In Hong Kong, cheese we see in a supermarket are usually imports. I do not recall seeing made in Hong Kong cheese in a nearby store. But I have seen milk which … keep reading

Recipe: Herby Pizza Crust

Herby Pizza Crust

This easy-to-make pizza crust is ideal for busy Hong Kong people or anyone who want to minimize the cooking time but still want to enjoy a nice hot home-made pizza with toppings you fancy. If you already have tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, then you can make margherita pizza at home in 30 minutes. You can also make pesto pizza by using basil pesto instead of tomato sauce and top with cottage cheese or any cheese you like. (In my next article, I will share with you how to make tomato pizza sauce at home) Tips: This recipe skips the dough-rising … keep reading

Recipe: Whole Wheat Peanut Sesame Bread

Whole Wheat Peanut Sesame Bread

This past Sunday, I wanted to make truffle oil scrambled eggs for lunch. And to go with that, I wanted to have nutty bread. But I didn’t have any bread. So I decided to make one easy bread, soda bread. The traditional recipe calls for buttermilk, but in Hong Kong, it’s hard to find a good selection of buttermilk in a local supermarket. If there is none, then I shall make one without it 😉 For nuts, I chose peanuts because they are abundant in China and I always have a stock. I also added black sesame seeds because I wanted … keep reading

Recipe: White Wine Jelly

White Wine Jelly

This is for white wine lovers. I have never used white wine for dessert making in the past. But I found the use of various spices along with white wine to make a splendid dessert was so unique and that I thought I would share this alluring jelly recipe invented by a chef from Hakkakuan in Osaka, Japan, in English 😀 Tips: The original recipe calls for mango ice cream to go with this jelly. Recipe: White Wine Jelly Serving: 4 Ingredients 750ml white wine 210g granulated sugar 3 star anise 15 cloves 15 black peppercorns 1 thai red ruby 1 grape fruit … keep reading

Recipe: Herby Lemon Salmon

Herby Lemon Salmon

When my mother was still an undergraduate student attending a Japanese university in Tokyo in 1970s, she took a trip by herself to a small island in Okinawa. It was a small island which she could cycle around in one day. When she came back for dinner at a place she was staying, she was shocked to see a bowl of miso soup with bright-colored tropical fish in it. She was not accustomed to seeing tropical fish and the idea of eating them as an ingredient for miso soup was a bit shocking to her. I just remembered this story … keep reading

Recipe: Annin Tofu

Annin Tofu

When I was working in Yokohama, Japan, I would sometimes go to a nearby Chinese restaurant for lunch. Sometimes alone. Sometimes with my colleagues. They had a lunch set which changed on a weekly basis. But there was always annin tofu for desserts. And I liked it very much. There are instant mix available in a supermarket for annin tofu, but ones you make at your home are a lot creamier. The sweet flavor of star anise will linger in your mouth. Tips: This recipe involves two processes: (1) Make milk tofu; (2) Make star anise syrup. It is best to start making … keep reading