One of the most beautiful spices, the star-shaped spice, star anise has an exotic look and flavor.
Native to China and Vietnam, star anise is used in various stews, soups and broths. The pods of the star anise are more powerful than the seeds. So, if you find that your package of this spice is missing seeds, not to worry.
In India, this spice is used as a flavoring agent in rice dishes. The delicate, licorice-like flavor makes for a luscious taste. It brings many other flavors together like nothing else. In Chinese cooking, star anise is one of the five spices in Chinese Five Spice powder.
Star anise is harvested from an evergreen tree just before ripening.
In Indian cooking, whole spices are left in the dish after it is prepared. The person who gets the spice in his or her plate, pushes it off to the side. If you bite into a star anise, you will have an intense but unpleasant burst of flavor in your mouth. It is best to enjoy the delicate flavor that has been infused by this beautiful spice.
Health benefits of Star Anise.
Star anise is warming and therefore can be combined with with coriander, turmeric, bay leaves and cumin. The recipe below is an example. Don’t be intimidated by the many ingredients in this recipe. It is worth the final product.
1 cup white Basmati rice
1 ¾ cup water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
1 star anise
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 small onion thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
½ tsp grated ginger
10 green beans cut into 1inch pieces
1 carrot thinly sliced
½ cup green peas
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt
1. Wash the rice in three changes of water and drain completely.
2. Add the drained rice, measured water and salt in a medium sized pot and bring to a rapid boil.
3. Place a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down to 15 minutes.
4. In the meanwhile, heat a large skillet and add the oil.
5. Add the whole spices (star anise, bay leaves, cloves, cumin seeds, green cardamom pods, cinnamon stick) and cook for about 45 seconds.
6. Now add the onions and cook on medium heat until translucent.
7. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for about one minute.
8. Add the vegetables and turmeric and cook on medium high heat for about 6-8 minutes.
9. Add the coriander powder and salt and mix well.
10. Cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
11. Once rice has cooked for 15 minutes, allow to stand in pot for 5 more minutes.
12. Mix the vegetables with the rice and serve hot.
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