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Thursday, January 17, 2008

STAR ANISE


  • Common Name: Star Anise
  • Vernacular Names: Chinese star anise, Bajiao
  • Scientific Name: Illicium verum
  • Specimens From: China
Star anise is an unusual star-shaped fruit used as a spice, mostly in Asian cooking. Its flavor is similar to anise or aniseed, a popular spice used in Western cooking.

The English name derives from the spice, anise, as the flavor tastes similar and by adding the word, "star" in front, since it looks like a star and to differentiate between the two spices.

The Mandarin name, bajiao, literally means, "eight horns" as it is usually comes with eight pointed sections. There is one seed in every section. It is native to China and is now grown on a large commercial scale in China, Indo-China, India and Japan.

The fruits are always picked before it is ripe and sun dried. It is then sold either in whole, dried hard form or in powder and never as fresh fruit.

It is widely used in Chinese and Indian cuisines. You can throw the whole dried star anise, including the seeds, into whatever you are cooking. Excellent in used with any types of meat, curries, soups and herbal tea. Just don't use too many of them as the flavor is pungent, bitter-sweet, intense and much stronger than aniseed.

Usually, the cooked star anises are not eaten as the flavor is already absorbed in the food but you may chew it if you like.

Take note that you do not mistake another species, Japanese star anise, from this as both look similar. Those are not edible as it is highly toxic. It is used as incense instead, mostly in Japan.

13 comments:

Sue said...

Fruity,
Don't hate me, but I HATE star anise. I can spot it a mile away in any dish. I first used it years ago in a Chinese beef dish. For those who like a licorice flavor, it's great. The others of us just have to avoid it...

kml said...

I have never cooked with it, but I have seen it used in potpouri.

morinn said...

i looovee the flavor of the star anis! it's really delightful!

RennyBA said...

Again another exotic fruit for a Norwegian - its always great to see your post - thanks for sharing!

Wishing you a wonderful end to your week too :-)

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Fruity,

What a beautiful photo!!! I looove anise. You always write such interesting posts. God Bless the day I met you in the blogosphere!!!

Hugs, JJ

Karin said...

I´ve got a small package with a mixture of different spices. There is at least one star anise inside. I can see that. This spice mixture is said to be suitable for Gluhwein, but I haven't used it because I haven't the faintest clue what the other spices are. There is no ingredient list.

Tammy said...

I've never heard of it, but it looks very cool!

Sue said...

Hey Fruitster,
Just wanted to let you know that I posted a review of your blog on my sidebar. It'll be up for a day or two.

Love ya!

Anna said...

You blog is so educational, I love it, and thanks for sharing. I will be back. Anna :)

Sorina said...

You have a very nice blog, good post...keep up the good job

Fruit species said...

Thanks for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments.

Glad to meet you too, JJ

Thanks for your write-up, Sue.

Welcome aboard, Sorina

Cheers from Fruity

miracle fruit said...

I love these - so useful when cooking!

suman said...

wonderful fruit ,very good dry fruit& delicious star fruit. Magnificent !!!

suman
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