Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ask the Internet: Star Anise Recipes?

Today’s question is born of surplus.

Q: This is a single piece of star anise:


This is how much star anise I have:


I think the guy at the bulk store heard “a full sandwich bag,” when I said, “four star anise, please.” Besides selling, pitching, or making confetti, what do I do with this much star anise?


A: Ack. Suggestions welcomed with open anise arms.

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

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36 comments:

Maria said...

Do you like chai tea?

http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen-blog/2011/01/step-by-step-amazing-spiced-chai-concentrate/

TJ said...

The only way I remember those being used was as tea. But I have heard you can use it to simmer certain meats (especially pork) with ginger and cinnamon sticks for a spicy kick.

Jen said...

Whole spices like this will last for a long time, so there's no rush to use them. You could even save them for a very nice and cheap holiday gift (or fall party favor maybe?). I made these sachets for mulled cider as Xmas gifts a couple years ago. I made dozens and packed them up nicely--major hit with the family and friends.

http://www.marthastewart.com/article/mulling-sachets

Kate said...

Pots and pots of pho. Even better if you have a slow cooker.

Also works as Christmas garland.

Anonymous said...

Pho!

Susan said...

You might try it in a brine--this recipe only uses 12 of the little stars, but that's a start, and roast chicken is so easy and pretty healthy (and cheap if you get chicken on sale!)
http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/kitchen-assistant/chicken-recipes-roasted-chicken-00418000070333/page5.html

krista {urbanite jewelry} said...

oooo! ooo! perfect solution/one of my favorite things: drop a pod in your water bottle or water jug. It creates the loveliest hint of star anise-y, vaguely licorice-y flavor to your water and it's become one of my favorite ways to ensure i drink more water each day!

Kristy said...

The only thing I've ever used it for is pho, like other people already mentioned. Very yummy hot steamy pho.

Ducks said...

The crock pot Chinese pork short ribs recipe in Hungry Monkey is the only thing I use a LOT of star anise on. But it's so worth it! They're slow simmered with hoisin sauce, ginger, green onions, etc. and end up falling off the bone and delicious.

Dora said...

Here's a recipe I've used again and again - it only calls for a few star anise in a batch, but it's one more way to use them up.

http://userealbutter.com/2007/11/13/chinese-soy-sauce-chicken-recipe/

Anonymous said...

I believe chinese red cooked meat dishes call for star anise.

As mentioned it is delicious in chai.

And then there is the Mennonite-style chicken noodle soup I grew up on. My approach is a little non-traditional in that it uses garlic. I cook the chicken/bones/whatever with a couple of whole star anise, a good-sized stick of cinnamon, lots of whole black peppercorns, bay leaf, 2-3 whole cloves of garlic, and an onion (cut in half).

Victoria said...

Make fragrant rice! Put once in the pot or rice cooking and you end up with a delicately scented rice. Great for pairing with Indian dishes.

Arlene said...

Star anise is a key ingredient in Chinese red cooked dishes like this one: http://redcook.net/2008/04/28/red-cooked-beef/.

Jenna said...

Worse case scenario and you can't use it before it begins to lose it's potency (which, honestly means going this route sometime... oh, 2 years from now if you keep it dry, sealed up, and in the dark.)

1) break a couple (or use up the broken bits) and simmer on the stove in water - instant air freshener. Once it has boiled down for a bit - toss the resulting brewed tea into a spray bottle with some everclear (yes. I keep essentially moonshine on hand for cleaning.) and water for an air freshener safer than aerosol cans of the stuff. (The booze keeps it from going off and makes it evaporate quicker)

or 2) break the bag down into smaller portions and hand out to other adventurously inclined cooking friends.

Tincan said...

I use equal parts ground star anise and ground coriander (about a tablespoon of each) with salt and pepper to spice boneless pork chops before baking them. We also like it in the court bouillon for tea-poached tilapia. Hmm, now that I say that I realize I haven't tried star anise with sous vide chicken, I'll bet that would work out nicely...

Paula @ AffordAnything.org said...

I agree with TJ ... simmer it with finely chopped meats for a little extra flavor and kick.

Alicia said...

This is not an edible recipe, but I have a friend who has used star anise to make lovely garlands for fall/winter. I think she just ties the string around the pieces and alternates star anise with cinnamon and dried citrus slices. Lovely.

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...

You could make Chinese-style boiled peanuts! Or a lovely, aromatic wreath -- ha.

Beth said...

How about for flavoring rice pudding? maybe in combination with other warm spices like cinnamon. Chai-spiced rice pudding....yum.

Juno said...

glue googly eyes on them?

NB said...

You don't need to use them right now, especially if they're dry. Time will tell, and maybe you 'll make some spicy dish that will need them!

Tangentrider said...

I've no specific recipe, but you might check into ham/bacon/etc. Star anise is a key ingredient in Chinese ham.

How's it Taste? said...

You could combine them with other, similar spices (cinnamon, cardamom, maybe a split vanilla bean or two, etc.) and mix them into a jar of sugar; let it set for a month or so, and you've got yourself a nicely scented sugar!

mom said...

anise is used here as an ingredient in a lot of soups like the soupy rice delicacy we call lugaw. it is boiled rice mixed with meat (chicken, pork, or beef), ginger, garlic, black pepper, salt, and other spices. i like it when its raining or when its cold.

kazari said...

everyone's already said chai, but i've got a moroccan mint tea recipe, too.
also, adds a kick to spiced rum.

branny said...

I once had a recipe for star anise cookies. Let me find it.

Jill said...

They are an ingredient in Chinese 5 spice powder. I don't have a recipe in front of me, but I get Google will help you.
I use Chinese 5 spice powder in everything. Meat, cookies (it tastes like an edgier cinnamon), popcorn.
It's right up there w/garam masala for versatility.
Also it might be tasty brewed with cup of coffee. So long as you make sure not to swallow whole by mistake.

ScienceandtheCity said...

I have never tried this, but it seems like you could probably infuse vodka or some other liquor with them. I imagine it would be like a dry version of ouzo. Then I guess you'd need some drink recipes to use with said flavored vodka...

Natalia said...

I second the chicken noodle soup; it really adds that special something to make it amazing.

Johanna Patashnick said...

I've never used star anise and I was wondering what it tastes like?

Kris said...

Holy moly - thanks, you guys. These are wonderful. A few notes:

1) My god, I love chai, and had never seen the concentrate on Tasty Kitchen. Winnah.

2) I've been meaning to try pho for ages, and didn't realize star anise was a main ingredient. (Doy.) Now I can.

3) FIVE SPICE POWDER! Brill.

4) I'm intrigued about this drop-it-in-cooking-beef-or-chicken thing. Will attempt soon.

@Johanna: Star anise has a black licorice flavor, though I find it fairly subtle. Not like, tarragon-subtle, but maybe fennel-subtle.

Thanks again, everyone.

Diane said...

Chinese oxtail stew. This recipe is a bit similar to one I make a lot.
http://wednesdaychef.typepad.com/the_wednesday_chef/2006/12/jennifer_mclaga.html

lizzie said...

Add star anise to the syrup of a winter fruit salad. (Dried figs, pears apples and apricots.)

pbrobinson said...

Its used in my favourite Chilli Con Carne recipe. Absolutely delish!

http://www.waitrose.com/content/waitrose/en/home/recipes/recipe_directory/h/heston_s_rich_chilli_con_carne_with_spiced_butter.html

emily said...

You should definitely make tea eggs. If you do any search for Chinese tea eggs you'll find oodles and oodles of recipes. It's basically a variation on hardboiled eggs, which is great since they're so cheap and so portable!

Anonymous said...

Google "cold Chinese beef appetizer". There are a million versions, but I use the one at Allrecipies. You braise a whole roast beef in broth flavored with anise, cinnamon, soy sauce, red pepper, sesame oil, etc. until tender, cool, slice, and serve cold. This is good at parties, where it rapidly vanishes.