BANGKOK, THAILAND - 2005/05/14: Spices including star anise, cardamom, pepper and mace are displayed at the Thai Cooking School at the Oriental Hotel.. (Photo by Jerry Redfern/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
What Is Star Anise And How Do You Cook With It?
Not to be mistaken for aniseed, star anise comes from a completely different plant family. Star anise is a delicious spice with warm, sweet notes that is much stronger in aroma and flavor than aniseed, and its oils are commonly used to provide flavor and aroma to candies, liqueurs (like ouzo), and even perfumes.
According to Cooking Chew, star anise, aka the Chinese star anise, are pods that grow in the shape of a 6-8 point star that, once picked, are dried out until they turn a red-brown color. Like cinnamon, the dried spice can be incorporated whole or ground and can be found mixed into Chinese five-spice powder or a variety of dishes that benefit from its spicy-sweet kick!
Food Network says it's delicious when added whole into broths, like you would a bay leaf, and Gordon Ramsay does the same for pots of rice. The dark, sweet, peppery flavor from the spice will bring depth to the flavor of your soups, whether they be a rich chicken pho recipe or a recuperative bone broth to help get you back on your feet.