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Star anise: The unusual fruit.

What is It?

Native to China and Vietnam, star anise is now grown in southern China, Indo-China, and Japan. It is star shaped, with five and ten pointed boat-shaped sections. The fruit is picked before it can ripen, and dried. The stars are available whole, or ground to a red-brown powder. It has a pungent and strong taste.

History

It was first introduced into Europe in the seventeenth century. The oil produced by a process of steam extraction, is substituted for European aniseed in commercial drinks.

Culinary Uses

It is mostly used in Chinese dishes especially in beef and chicken. It is also used in making soups, sweetmeats and confectionery. The whole stars can be added directly or in pieces. Otherwise, grind the whole stars as required. Small amounts are used, as the spice is powerful. In the West, it is added in fruit compotes and jams. It pairs well with tomatoes.

Select and Store

Store whole in airtight containers, it keeps for well over a year. - swati@timesofoman.com

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Nov 10, 2015
Words:185
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