Spice How To: Star Anise – It’s pretty, and very useful.
Common question, how do you use Star Anise? Do you break it apart? Grind it? Would you use just one, or several?
Star Anise is visually attractive and mysterious. Grown on evergreen trees in Vietnam and southwest China, star anise is a fruit that’s picked before ripened then dried before use.
Each point, or section, that makes up the 5 – 10 pointed star is called a pod. Each pod contains a small shiny seed. The seed is what contains most of the flavor. It should be noted, however, that the flavor contained in one small star is often enough for an entire dish—part of the mystery is just how powerful this spice actually is.
Available whole, pieced, or ground into a reddish-brown powder, star anise can be used in any form, just depends on what you’re making. Commonly used in Indian cuisine, star anise offers a sweet licorice-like yet peppery flavor to favorites such as biryani or masala chai.
Star Anise works well with red meat dishes, spice based baking (it compliments nutmeg and cinnamon well), and with several different vegetable dishes. It is also can found in different liquors.
Vegetable Biryani Recipe:
1 1/2 cups long grain rice, soaked
1 med. tomato, diced
1 med. green pepper, cubed
1 med. carrot cubed
2 med potatoes, cubed
10 ½ inch pieces green beans
1/4 small cauliflower, separated
1/4 cup green peas shelled
10 tbsp. oil
2 med. onions, diced
10 curry leaves
½ tsp. salt
1/4 cup coriander leaves
8 mint leaves
1 tbsp. lemon juice
10-12 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, chopped
1/4 cup coconut, shredded
4 dried red Kashmiri chilies
2 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
2 tbsp. fennel seeds
Garam Masala Ingredients:
1 star anise
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
2 green cardamoms
10 black peppercorns
½ tsp. nutmeg
- Heat 2 tbsp. oil and fry all the masala ingredients until they’re light brown
- Cool and grind to a smooth paste with a small amount of water
- Roast for 1- 2 min then pound into a coarse powder
- Heat 8 tbsp. oil with onions until brown
- Add curry leaves and masala paste
- Add tomato, cook on high heat
- Add remaining vegetables
- Stir, take in the smell
- Drain rice then add to vegetable mixture
- Add salt plus 3 cups of hot water
- Cover and lower heat to medium
- Allow to cook (stir occasionally until the vegetables and rice are cooked)
- Garnish with pounded garam masala, coriander, mint and lemon juice
- Cover then cook for 10 additional minutes
And that’s it, an amazing biryani is ready to satisfy your taste buds.