What is Star Anise?
Star Anise is the fruit of a small, Chinese evergreen tree called Illicium Verum.
Its name comes from the star shaped fruit, harvested when green, and then dried. Each dried fruit is about the size of a quarter, has 6 to 10 points, and holds a seed within each of those points.
NOTE: Star Anise is NOT the same thing as Aniseed.
Star Anise has a distinct licorice scent and flavor. It can be used whole or in a powder. However, when used whole it is only for the flavor released while cooking and then removed before serving the finished dish.
Star Anise is most widely know for its use in Chinese Five Spice but its warming flavor also pairs well with Cardamom, Coriander, Cloves, and Cinnamon.
It can most often be found in classical Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, especially flavorful broths, soups and curries.
However, Star Anise isn’t just limited to savory dishes but is also included in teas, flavored coffees, and sweet dishes such as pies, breads, and muffins.
If you would like to try using Star Anise just remember that because it has such a strong licorice flavor a little bit tends to go a long way!
That said some places to try adding this beautiful spice include: broths, soups, stews, herbal teas, cocktails, braised meats, and poached fruit.
Recently we have been using it quite a bit with a new family favorite…homemade Pho! (I promise to share a recipe soon!)
(A good recipe to sneak a little bit of Star Anise into would be THIS Apple Spice Dump Cake Recipe.)
You can find Star Anise in most Asian Markets as well as on Amazon. (THIS is the brand I use.)
It should be stored in an airtight container.
NOTE: An Amazon Affiliate link was used in this post.