Mixed, and on hand for use at a moment’s notice, this blend of spices imparts a familiar sweet and savory flavor to any Asian-style recipe, especially when used with soy sauce and sesame oil. The inclusion of dried mushroom powder and sesame seeds lends a full and round flavor profile to the mix.

plate with all the ingredients for the homemade Asian spice blend placed next to one another before mixing.

The concept for this homemade Asian spice blend

There are familiar ingredients and flavors across many Asian and Asian-inspired recipes and I wanted to bring together all the right flavors in a dry mix that would make it easy and fast to pull together a favorite, noodle, stir-fry, udon soup, or juicy protein dish with all the rich and umami infused flavors of those dishes. Additional benefits of using this spice blend are:

  • You can skip fresh garlic, ginger, onion, and even mushrooms if you don’t have time, or don’t have them on hand, since the blend includes all three in powdered form. If you love those flavors and have the fresh ingredients on hand you can still include them and your preparation of the dish will yield more flavor of both!
  • You can likely prepare most dishes with less oil. As delicious as many Asian dishes are, the pan and wok-fried cooking methods often used can lead to the use of “a lot” of oil. I’ve found that I can coat my proteins in this mix and quickly saute with small amounts of oil, or skip the pan fry method and quickly roast the ingredients with this mix, for a sheet pan Asian meal.

Above: 1. Red and Aleppo pepper flakes are options. 2. Coconut sugar works well because of its drier consistency. 3. dried shiitake (or any variety) mushrooms are ground to a powder.

What ground spices are used to create this Asian blend?

  • coconut sugar – there is often a sweet component to Asian recipes. When developing this blend I chose coconut sugar over white sugar. Coconut sugar is less processed than white/brown sugar and contains trace minerals and phytonutrients, but I chose it because it is dry enough to work in a spice blend and has a nice caramelized flavor that comes through in lesser amounts. At the end of the day, coconut sugar is still very sweet and caloric, and I pared it back as an ingredient.
  • crushed Aleppo pepper flakes – see subs below. This is customizable of course.
  • ginger, garlic, and onion powder- this trifecta is often included in Asian recipes.
  • white pepper – see subs below, but the fine ground white type of pepper works perfectly here.
  • sesame seeds- so convenient to have this favorite ingredient as part of the blend.
  • mushroom powder- adds depth of flavor that can be layered if you include fresh mushrooms in the dish you make.

Substitutions

  • Coconut sugar- Coconut sugar is available in many grocery stores with other sugars in the baking aisle, but you can use white sugar. See the above notes. I’ve seen both white and brown sugar used in Asian recipes but traditional brown sugar is too moist for use in this spice blend.
  • Red pepper flakes- I prefer the milder, fruitier flavor of Aleppo pepper flakes, but more typical red pepper flakes can certainly be used instead.
  • White Pepper- the more finely ground pepper is a great addition to this mix as it blends well and has a nice subtle kick, but you can sub black pepper, the finer ground the better.
  • Onion and garlic powders- preferable to the granules but either can be used.
  • Mushroom Powder – purchase already ground as linked here, or simply purchase some dried mushrooms of your choice at your local grocery store and grind them to a fine powder easily in a coffee or spice grinder. You can leave it out if not readily available.

How to use this Asian spice blend

So far, my favorite way to use this Asian blend is to coat shredded tofu and mushrooms with the blend, drizzle with the slightest amount of oil, and roast at high heat for a “ground meat” substitute in popular Asian dishes such as Bulgogi, but there are many options such as:

  • Coat your protein of choice with this blend before roasting or browning on the stovetop.
  • Sprinkle on top of veggies in wok stir fry with your choice of soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos and a final drizzle of sesame oil for a quick meal.
  • Create a flavorful broth by stirring the blend into a ramen or udon noodle soup.
  • Simply use this blend in place of what spices are called for when preparing your next Asian recipe, especially when you don’t have all the fresh ingredients on hand.
bowl of finished Asian spice blend.
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overhead view of asian spice blend ingredients on dark blue plate.

Homemade Asian Spice Blend

Prep Time10 minutes
Servings8 (1.5 tbsp per ser.)
Calories46
Mixed, and on hand for use at a moment’s notice, this blend of spices imparts a familiar savory flavor to any Asian-style recipe, especially when used with soy sauce and sesame oil. The inclusion of dried mushroom powder and sesame seeds lends a full and round flavor profile to the mix.
Kitchen Tools
  • 1 spice grinder, or coffee grinder- if grinding mushrooms4

Ingredients
 

  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar (see notes)
  • 1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes (see notes)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds (white or black)
  • 4 tsp ground mushroom powder (see notes)

Method:  

  • Grind the mushrooms into powder (see notes).
  • Measure the rest of the ingredients, mix with fork or whisk and store covered with other spices in your cupboard.

Notes

  • Coconut Sugar: ok to use white sugar but light or dark brown sugar is too moist. Read the post about reasons to use this less common sugar.
  • Aleppo chili flakes: ok to use red chili flakes. Aleppo flakes are a bit more fruity and less hot. Also, double the amount if you like a good amount of heat.
  • Ground mushroom powder: I use dried shiitake. They are located with jarred garlic in the produce department at my grocery store. You can buy online as well. I filled the coffee grinder with about 4-5 to get 4+ tsps worth of powder. This ingredient is optional. It adds flavor but is not crucial.

Nutrition (an estimate)

Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg | Magnesium: 13mg
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