You can also use the whole pods to mull wine, cider, or beer, like in my spiced apple cider recipe. It‘s also nice in a fruity Christmas punch. Grated or ground star anise works well for desserts like gingerbread, chocolate cake, or brownies.
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 flavor and culinary applications but also for its medicinal benefits.
Did you know that Star Anise is one of the five spices in Chinese five-spice powder? It’s also one of the predominant flavours in Vietnamese Pho (a noodle soup), and Sambuca (an Italian liqueur). Read on to learn more about this spice, including how to use it in your cooking.
How to cook with Star Anise?
If you’re just getting started cooking with star anise, you should start adding it to your dishes slowly. Too many pods can overpower a dish, making it bitter and unpleasant to eat. If you’re adding it to a soup or stew, try using one or two pods to start. This can be enough to impart a flavour, without obliterating the rest of the dish.
Try adding whole pods to soups or stews that are made with beef or chicken, like this Pho with beef and noodles, or this chicken soup with shiitake mushrooms. A single pod can elevate a batch of homemade tomato sauce, too.
Rich in Powerful Bioactive Compounds
The most valuable component of star anise may lie within its dense supply of flavonoids and polyphenols. These may primarily be responsible for the spice’s broad applications and medicinal benefits.