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  • Writer's pictureJulie Checknita

Ghee Infused 5 Spice Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Cilantro Coconut Cream Sauce

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

In Ayurveda, spices are said to help strengthen the agni (digestive fire), antidote / balance the negative properties of food, burn up ama (toxic build-up) & dispel gas during digestion.

While each individual spice is said to have its own energy (cooling or heating) and action on the body, together, spice combinations have the power to not only boost the flavor of food we eat, but to synergistically energize food with healing qualities.

One of my favorite spice combinations to work with lately is the Chinese Five Spice Blend, typically used in Chinese, Vietnamese & Taiwanese cuisine.

Originally named after the five elements, the spices found in Five Spice have been used in Chinese medicine to encourage proper organ function, promote circulation, & boost digestion.

Typically (but not always), Chinese Five Spice is made up of the 5 spices: Star Anise, Cinnamon, Fennel, Szechuan Peppercorns & Clove, giving it a uniquely, sweet & aromatic flavor profile with healing qualities far beyond boosting digestion:

Cinnamon has antioxidant, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is said to help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and balance hormone levels in women.

Szechuan peppercorns provide a boost to digestion by increasing the secretion of gastro intestinal juices and enzymes. They are also said to help boost the immune system and to help purify the blood.

Star Anise has diuretic, anti-viral & anti-inflammatory properties and has been used as a remedy for back pain & digestive problems.

Fennel Seeds have anti-microbial & anti-bacterial properties. They are a rich source of antioxidants & dietary fiber said to strengthen the immune system & reduce blood pressure. They are also said to help combat the toxic effect of food additives.

Cloves are known to provide anti-oxidant, anti-septic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. They are also known to regulate blood sugar and help improve digestion by boosting the secretion of digestive enzymes.

Similar, to how Ayurveda views individuals as a unique combination of the 5 elements (ether, earth, fire, air & water), Traditional Chinese medicine believes the 5 elements (fire, water, wood, earth & metal) are manifested in various parts of the body.

In both Ayurveda & Chinese medicine it is said that when there are imbalances in these any of these elements, disease can result.

While both systems of healing have their own unique spices & foods for healing, both agree one of the top ways to help keep our bodies in balance is through the foods & herbs we consume.

Aside from helping us move towards health & balance, spices are so fun to experiment with.

Looking for a way to incorporate this delicious blend of healing spices into your diet? Give this easy recipe a try.

Ghee Infused 5 Spice Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Cilantro Coconut Cream Sauce


3 medium sweet potatoes

1 tsp sea salt

1 egg

1 ½ cups flour of choice – I used spelt flour

2 tbsp ghee

1 tbsp Chinese Five Spice (Blend of Cinnamon, Fennel, Cloves, Star Anise, White Pepper)


¾ cup coconut cream – preferably fresh or from the carton with no preservatives

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

½ tsp sea salt

Optional Additions

1 cup Kale or Arugula

Nuts of choice, crushed


Gnocchi Directions

Add potatoes to large pot of salted, boiling water. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until fork easily pierces potato. Strain and allow to cool until you can handle potato to remove skin.

Once skin has been peeled, mash potatoes in large mixing bowl until all lumps are gone. Add salt & mix well. Set Aside.

Over low heat, add ghee and Five Spice seasoning. Allow spice to infuse in ghee for 3-4 minutes over low heat. Set aside.

Whisk egg in small bowl & add to potato mixture, along with spice infused ghee.

Add 1 cup flour & knead dough, adding additional ½ cup of flour as needed – you want to be able to roll the dough without it sticking.

Slice dough in 4 equal parts and roll on lightly floured surface into long 1 inch wide ropes.

Slice ropes into squares & press top with fork to make pattern, set aside on plate.

Bring large pot of water to boil and add gnocchi to cook until they start to float to top of water. Remove from heat & strain.

Heat additional ghee in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add gnocchi & allow to lightly brown – about 4-5 minutes. Option to add fresh Kale or Arugula for last few minutes of cooking. Set aside.

Sauce Directions

To prepare sauce, combine coconut cream, fresh cilantro & salt and blend in blender. Heat over medium heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes.

Pour over gnocchi. Add desired toppings (egg or crushed nuts) & ENJOY!!!

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