Several Chinese products feature in my food. Star anise has an unmistakable liquorice flavour and is essential when making a soy master stock for Chinese braising of meat dishes. Five-spice powder is incredibly aromatic and one of the tastes that shouts China. It contains star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon and Sichuan peppercorns.
Chilli oil I make myself by putting sliced hot red chilli peppers and seeds in a bottle of sunflower oil and leaving this at room temperature for a month. You can speed the process by putting the chillies in a saucepan with the oil and heating gently, then leaving this to cool before bottling. Sesame oil is a Chinese ingredient made from roasted white sesame seeds. The sesame oil which features in Middle Eastern food is made from cold pressed seeds and tastes rather different Chinese red vinegar and rice vinegar have unique characteristics and are milder than their European counterparts.