Know the star of your kitchen- “STAR ANISE”
4 mins read

Know the star of your kitchen- “STAR ANISE”

Star Anise is a secret ingredient in traditional Asian Kitchen. Also known as “Chakra-Phool” in India, this sweet spice adds a wonderful aroma to our dishes. The name star anise is a combination of its shape and its similarity in flavor to aniseed (a small brown color seed). It is an evergreen tree native to China and Vietnam and has been popular for centuries.

It can be used to infuse amazing flavors in Biryani, soups, braised meat, poached fruits, teas, cocktails, and many other vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Its easy accessibility and cost make it an excellent option for culinary and medical applications. It has zero calories, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and sodium. Star Anise can be used whole or grounded to powder and used in different dishes.

This spice is very easy to recognize as it resembles a small rust-colored star. It usually has about 8-10 points. Each point contains one seed which is the flavor epicenter. It is also known as a “Miracle Spice” because it can cure several diseases and boost digestion. For ages, it has been known for its medical properties. Some of the health benefits include:

  • It is considered great for building immunity as it has antioxidant properties.
  • It has antifungal and antibacterial properties and is rich in Vitamin C and A, thus making it an excellent spice for treating cough and cold.
  • Star Anise essential oil works great on back pain. It can be mixed with a carrier oil and can be applied to the affected area.
  • According to Ayurveda, this superstar may have sedative properties that can help the nerves to settle down and aid good night sleep. A cup of soothing Star Anise tea might be perfectly soothing before going to bed.
  • It aids digestion and hence is extremely helpful for people with slow digestion. Consuming star anise tea after meals helps digestive ailments such as bloating gas, indigestion, and constipation.
  • It helps in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It helps provide instant relief from acne and damaged skin.
  • One of the key compounds in Star Anise that is “Shikimic acid” is used in an antiviral drug named Tamiflu to treat Influenza.

Star Anise is often confused with “Aniseed” as both possess a sweet, licorice-like scent. The essential oil for both seeds contains the active compound “Anethole”. However, it is very easy to differentiate between the two. Star Anise is a seedpod having a star shape while aniseed is a small brown color seed. Star Anise is widely used in Asian cooking while aniseed is mainly used in Western countries. Due to its sweet scent, star anise essential oils are used in aromatherapy, perfumes, cosmetics, toothpaste, and cooking.

Key points to consider while buying Star Anise:

  • Always look for whole star anise with unbroken points.
  • To check its freshness, break off a point, crush the seed and smell it. You should smell the aroma right away. If the aroma is faded it might be stale.
  • The standard star anise that we buy from the grocery store is Chinese star anise which is safe for consumption. However, the Japanese star anise is known to be toxic to consume. Hence while buying it’s always safe to pick packed star anise from a grocery shelf.

Once you buy star anise, put it in an air-tight container. It will continue to possess its rich aroma and flavor for almost a year.

Having understood the benefits of this magical spice it is important to understand that:

  • It should be consumed in moderation
  • If you are allergic to the spice or have any existing health conditions/pregnancy, it’s best to take expert medical advice before consuming it.

How to make Star Anise Tea:

  • Take a cup of water in a pan and put it for boiling.
  • Once the water boils, add 1-2 star anise to it and cover it with a lid. If you like the orange flavor, you can add some orange zest to it.
  • Let it rest for about 3-5 minutes. The flavor of Star Anise and orange get released in the water making it a perfect drink.
  • Later Sieve it and have it hot.
  • To create variation, you can also try adding cinnamon sticks.
  • Honey and lemon also make a perfect combination with it.

Experiment with your kitchen ingredients and make your perfect cup of tea Star Anise tea. Don’t forget to share your tea recipe with us.

19 thoughts on “Know the star of your kitchen- “STAR ANISE”

  1. Very useful n interesting tips , so many health benefits , which we did not know in small star r amazing

    1. Thanks a lot.It is indeed very useful. I use it for making sweet tamarind chatni as well. It adds an amazing taste and fragrance to it.

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