Spice of the Month: Star Anise
Sometimes when you eat spicy ginger chicken, that licorice-like flavour is the super-famous ingredient and our spice of the month: Star Anise. Popularly known as chakra Phool in Hindi, this star-shaped spice is a dried fruit from the Asian evergreen tree. This warming, sweet spice can be cooked in broths and braises to offer an extra depth of flavour, and it’s a secret ingredient in classic Asian recipes. The anise flavour can be found in both the seeds and the pods, which are utilised in cooking. Whole and ground star anise are available.
Star anise is in fact a distinctive looking spice that has a very strong, distinct flavour which is warm, sweet, and spicy. Star anise is used in cooking for its distinct flavour, but it is also quite well-known for its medicinal properties. It is also known as Chinese star anise and is grown in China, Indo-China, and Japan. In Chinese cooking, star anise is a key component; it’s one of the main tastes in Chinese five-spice powder, and it’s also used to flavour tea and roast duck and other meats.
In Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines, star anise is utilised similarly to bay leaves. Star anise pods are cooked whole in soups, stews, and braises. Before serving, star anise, like bay leaves, is normally removed and discarded from the meal. It pairs well with citrus, fowl, and beef in savoury meals, offering a sweet licorice-like flavour contrast.
Ground star anise is stronger than whole star anise and can be used in tiny amounts in dishes and baked products. It’s a common spice in Indian cuisine, and it’s also found in chai tea and the spice combination garam masala.
When we talk about its therapeutic and medicinal properties, star anise stands out there as well. To improve digestion and relieve bloating, drink star anise tea or add a few drops of star anise essential oil to hot water at the end of a big meal. Antioxidants and vitamins A and C are abundant in star anise, which aid in the battle against free radicals, which cause premature ageing and diabetes.
With Homefills, you can buy Star Anise from us and try out some of the most famous dishes that have it as under: