star anise

What is Star Anise? Glossary | Uses, Benefits, Recipes Viewed 45904 times

Also Known as
Chakri Phool, chakri phul

What is Star Anise ( chakri phool) ?

The unusual, star-shaped fruit of a small oriental tree, star anise is picked before it ripens, dried, and sold as a spice.

Star anise, as the name suggests, is star-shaped. It is hard, about an inch high, with five to ten (usually eight) segments and a dark brown rust-like colour.

Due to the presence of a chemical compound called anethol, star anise has a liquorice like taste, similar to anise, but stronger.

How to Select star anise
• Star anise is readily available in grocery stores and supermarkets.
• The stars are available whole, or ground to a red-brown powder.
• When purchasing star anise, look for whole pieces that aren't broken.
• If buying the powder, choose a reliable brand or buy from a known source, as it is prone to colouring and contamination by grinding together cheaper spices and even wood pieces.

Culinary Uses of star anise
• Star anise is often used to flavour slow-cooked dishes in Indian and Chinese cuisine too.
• Apart from being added to many Indian stews and curries, it is also added whole when cooking rice for pulaos and biryanis. However, it is removed and discarded from the cooked rice dish before serving.
• It is one of the spices in the famous five-spice powder commonly used in Chinese cooking.
• Star anise is mostly added in Chinese red cooking, where the ingredients are simmered for a lengthy period in dark soy sauce.
• Chinese stocks and soups very often contain the spice.
• Some stir-fries also call for the use of ground star anise.
• In the West, star anise is added in fruit compotes and jams, and in the manufacture of anise-flavoured liqueurs, the best known being anisette.
• It is also used in confectionery, to impart a mild sweetness and spicy flavour.

How to Store star anise
• Store star anise in a sealed container in a cool, dark place.
• Properly stored, star anise will last for several months.
• Discard once the flavour and aroma fade.

5 Health Benefits of star anise

1. Star Anise – a potent spice to ward off Bacteria: Anethole, linalool and shikimic acid are the compounds of star anise which have a role to play in kicking off the bacteria. Star anise extract has been used in treating some urinary tract infections as well infections due to E. coli bacteria.

2. Star Anise – a soothing agent for Cold and Cough: The shikimic acid present in the star anise possess the strength to fight bacteria and virus. Sipping on Star Anise Tea during cold and cough is thus a great relief as boiling star anise in water to make its tea helps benefit from some of its antioxidants and the hot water is all the more soothing for the throat. Many pharmaceuticals have used star anise is one of the most important ingredient in treating influenza.

See here complete health benefits of star anise.