We take a look at a super-hero of an ingredient and give you five simple ideas of how to use them. Here Sumayya Jamil shares her best star anise recipes.
Star anise is also known as badain anise and Chinese anise, it is a perfect brown star enveloping tiny seeds; with the aromatics of aniseed. It’s usually associated with Chinese/Vietnamese cooking, but is also widely used in Pakistani and Indian cuisine to fragrance rice, stocks and meats and as a component in garam masalas. Star anise works for both savoury and sweet dishes and it adds the mystery of faraway places and floral essence of exotic holidays. Here are five of my favourite star anise recipes.
Grind… a whole star anise with 1 inch piece of cinnamon, 4 cardamoms and 1 tsp each of cumin and black peppercorns to make a garam masala. Best used with any red meat based curries.
Sprinkle… ground star anise together with ground cardamom and vanilla sugar to fruit salads, or sprinkled over desserts like pannacotta, crème brûlée and tiramisu, giving them an exotic twist.
Throw… a star anise into your chicken stock together with cumin, cloves, black peppercorns and a bay leaf. Add dried red chilli and coriander leaves to make it more South Asian or some ginger and lemongrass to give it a more Far Eastern twist.
Add… star anise, cinnamon, coriander seeds, bay leaf, cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom and fennel to hot oil. Next add some sliced onions, a little ginger and garlic paste, cook until aromatics release, add basmati rice, pour enough water to cover. Just before the rice is cooked add some peas and salt for a simple pea pullao rice.
Place… a star anise on top of fish, when baking ‘en papillote’ in foil and parchment paper. Top with chopped coriander stems, sliced lemon, crushed pepper, salt, sliced red chillis and slivers of ginger.
Sumayya Jamil is a food writer and cookery teacher specialising in Pakistani and Muslim heritage food and is currently writing a memoir style cookbook on Pakistani cuisine. You can find her recipes and information about classes at pukkapaki.com