Star anise is the seed pod from the plant called “fruit of illicium Verum plant” which is a Chinese evergreen tree. Star anise in Hindi is called “चक्र फूल” (chakr phool).
It is like a star shaped pod that’s why it’s name is star anise which is where spice seeds are harvested and has a flavor that is reminiscent of licorice.
Star anise is famed not only for its flavor, culinary application but they are also used for medicinal benefits.
In this article you will learn about what star anise is, star anise tea benefits and other related information which is cotto known.
What is Star Anise?
Star anise is used in cooking applications for its distinct flavor and star anise are good for health benefits and used for medicinal purposes.
Star anise originates from china and it is grown in indo-china, japan and sometimes other Asian countries. But it is also referred to as chinese star anise.
This is the main ingredient in Chinese cuisine. Main flavor in Chinese five spice powder and star anise used to make tea and sometimes used in roast meats.
A Star anise is also used in many soup and cuisine in China and Vietnam. pods are picked before they get ripened and then dried in the sun, when they turn a deep brown or rust color. Star anise distinctive flavor drive from anethol, the same oil found in seed giving both a licorice taste.
Star Anise and Anise Seed
A Star anise and anise seed are often confused with each other because of their same taste and name.
Their names are the same but they are not from the same plant family. Star anise is from the magnolia and Anise seeds are from the parsley family.
They have major culinary differences between anise seeds and star anise is that anise seeds are potent, with their spicy flavor, while star anise is subtly milder.
They can be used interchangeably in different recipes, but amounts must be adjusted to accommodate the mildness of the asian ingredients.
Star anise has a much stronger flavor when compared to anise seeds.
Sometimes it is also important not to confuse star anise with the Japanese star anise “illicium anisatum” which is highly toxic and must not be consumed.
Whole Star Anise Vs Ground Star Anise
A Whole star anise and ground star anise both have different uses in cooking.
Whole star anise pods commonly used for whole form to flavor teas, marinades, soups, broths and other liquids and after cooking are generally removed before serving in China and Vietnam.
Anise seed is a good spice that can add a wonderful aromatic licorice flavour to recipes.
Ground star anise is a main ingredient in Chinese five spice powder and Vietnamese pho. It’s like a royal flavor profile. Ground star anise are similarly to other ground spices. Powdered star anise loses its flavor shortly after ground up; it is a better method to buy whole star anise and grind it when needed. The pods and seeds can be grind together if you need.
Star Anise Taste Like
The star anise tastes very strong, warm, sweet, and spicy, similar to licorice fennel seed.
Star anise medicinal Benefits
Interesting Facts: Star anise has been used in China for the last thousand of years and also more medicine practices are accepted.
Star anise has many health benefits like they are antiviral, they improve digestion, help to reduce nausea, star anise tea also have many health benefits like – treat digestive, for baby gas, nausea, constipation and other digestive issues.
1. Antifungal properties
Star anise is a good source of flavonoid anethole. This compound is responsible for the spice’s distinct flavor and antifungal benefits.
According to some researchers star anise extract is effective as antibiotics against multiple drug resistant bacteria. Which is useful for future development of new antibiotic medications.
Bioactive compounds found in star anise essential oil like terpene linalool, suppress biofilm and cell wall formation of infection fungi in humans.
2. Antiviral Capabilities
Star anise is most important pharmacologically relevant because of their shikimic acid content. Shikimic acid is a compound with strong antiviral capabilities, which is the main ingredient in tamiflu, a popular medication for the treatment of influenza.
Star anise is the primary source of shikimic acid which is used for pharmaceutical product development. Also according to researchers essential oil star anise may help to treat other types of viral infections.
3. Skin health
Star anise have high levels of various antioxidants, so they can promote the elimination of free radicals throughout the body, particularly those that can cause oxidative stress in the skin.
So they can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, boost skin elasticity and help to keep your skin looking young and vibrant.
4. Antibacterial Benefits
Star anise have the ability to inhibit bacterial growth implicated in a variety of common illnesses. Star anise extract is as effective as antibiotics against multiple drug resistant pathogenic bacteria. It can be used in future development for antibiotic medicine.
5. Immune system
Antibacterial effects of star anise are researched and they have been used to treat bacterial infections of the stomach. This spice appears to be effective against many antibiotic resistant bacterial strains, making them very important in pharmaceutical uses.
Cooking with Star Anise
It depends on you if you want to use whole star anise or as powder in cooking. Both can be used. Star anise are mostly used in countries like India, China, Vietnam and middle east for flavor enhancer in soups and curries.
In India well known for its Presence in the “garam masala”.
In Chinese tradition they used star anise tea for treat infection, digestive problems, for baby gas, nausea, constipation and other digestive issues.
Star anise also makes a great addition to dessert and sweet dishes such as baked fruit breads and muffin making.
Whole pods are used for simmering in sauces, marinades, soups for enhance flavor and then removed before serving.
Recipe with star anise
Whole star anise pod used for meat braised and ground star anise is a common in Indian spices, spice are blend “garam masala” And also used to make tea “chai” And used in gingerbread for flavor.
Star anise substitutes
To replace star anise in recipe use fennel seeds or Chinese five spice powder. You can use half teaspoon ground star anise, half teaspoon crushed anise seed with garam masala, Chinese five spice powder, half teaspoon anise extract or half teaspoon fennel seed.
Where to buy star anise
Star anise you can buy both whole star anise or ground star anise (organic) online from amazon, Walmart and your nearby supermarket store.
In India you can find them at grocery store or supermarkets in Asian spice section.
How to store
Whole or ground star anise spice in airtight bags and away from moisture, heat, and sunlight.
Whole star anise, if you store properly will remain fresh and vibrant for one year, and ground star anise spice will begin to lose flavor in six months.