Spice Diary - Star anise
Star anise is a spice made from the fruit of the Chinese evergreen tree Illicium verum. It’s aptly named for the star-shaped pods from which the spice seeds are harvested and has a flavor that is reminiscent of licorice.
Star anise is famed not only for its distinct flavour and culinary applications but also for its medicinal benefits. It is used similarly to bay leaves in Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. When used whole, star anise pods are simmered in soups, stews, and braises.
It pairs well in savoury recipes with citrus, poultry, and beef, adding a contrasting sweet licorice-like flavour to dishes. Ground star anise is more potent and can be added in small quantities to dishes and baked goods.
Sipped as a tea, it aids digestion and reduces bloating, besides fighting free radicals responsible for aging and diabetes.