ALL YOU NEED IS SPICE: STAR ANISE
WHAT IS STAR ANISE?
Star anise, the main spice (Masala) in culinary applications for centuries because of its uniquely enticing flavor. It's most famously known for being a staple ingredient in five-spice powder, but it is also often added to dishes such as Vietnamese soup. This herb is a vital medicinal aid and can be grown in China, Indo-China, and Japan.
In Western culture, the Masala star anise provides another alternative when baking bread, such as challah rolls or cookies like fennel seeds and gingerbread. Anethol - the chemical responsible for the unique taste - is contained within all parts of this plant, including the flower that turns deep brown upon drying.
Star anise origins come from China and are both medicine and spice. In the late 1500s, it made its way to Europe via British sailors trading it along the tea route from China to Russia. It became popular because of its sweet taste and is most frequently found in jams, syrups, or desserts, eventually replacing anise seed in alcoholic drinks due to increased demand.
There are two different types of star anise - whole and ground. Whole star anise is usually added to braised dishes, soups, and stews to give them a rich flavor. The most common way for people who prefer their food without spice to use this variety would be through tea or baked goods.
Ground-up star anise powder has the same uses as any other ground spice in cooking, but because it starts losing its flavor after being grounded, you should always have whole pods on hand for when you need them. Alcoeats offers a range of Masala to choose from with Star Anise, like Alcoeats Garam Masala, Alcoeats Chaat Masala, and more.
What Does It Look Like?
Star anise is a conspicuous spice that resembles a small reddish star. It usually has 6 to 8 points, each point containing one of the best flavors around - its seed.
For maximum flavor, look for stars with unbroken points. To check the freshness, break off a point and crush the seed. Whole star anise remains fresh for up to a year, while ground spices will lose their flavor after only six months.
Cooking with whole pods will require simmering them in sauces, marinades, and soups and removing them before serving. They don't soften when cooked, so we can't eat them, But it's worth it for their distinctive flavor that becomes stronger the longer they cook. Cooking with ground stars instead means adding it just like any other spice would be added to a recipe at the end of cooking time or earlier, depending on how potent you want its flavor to come through.
What Can It Do For Your Health?
DISCLAIMER- This blog does not provide you with any medical advice. It is strictly meant to be an informational and recipe blog only. Please consult your physician or medical expert for what works best for you.
Star anise is known for its medicinal properties. It contains many antioxidants, such as vitamins A and C, preventing aging and diabetes. To reduce bloating and aid in digestion after a big meal, try drinking star anise tea or adding a few drops of star anise essential oil to hot water (for relief from this side effect).
Summing Up on Star Anise
Star anise has been in traditional medicine for centuries, but its recent popularity is for its ability to fight infection. Star anise has a distinctive taste of licorice which can provide delicious enhancement to many dishes. It also contains bioactive compounds that may help treat fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. Make sure when purchasing star anise that you're sourcing from trusted sources and start with small amounts at first so as not to encounter any unwanted side effects.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is star anise good for the heart?
Star anise may help protect cells from damage, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and promote cardiovascular health.
Is star anise good for wrinkles?
Star Anise is good for wrinkles because it is a natural skin toner. Anethole, a component of anise, is effective in detoxifying the skin.
How many pods of star anise are too many?
Too many star anise can overpower a dish, making it unbearably bitter and unpleasant to eat. In soup or stew, one or two pods are enough to impart some flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients in the dish.
Do star anise spices help in weight loss?
Compounds found within these spices are to increase metabolism and boost fat burning.
Does star anise interact with any medications?
There are no listed interactions between Star Anise and other drugs.