the appetizer:

The Spice Bible by Jane Lawson reveals the world of spices, including Allspice, Coriander, and Star Anise; with recipes like Cypriot Pork and Coriander Stew, Vietnamese Beef Pho, and Lamb Kibbeh.

Cookbook Profile

Star Anise

by Jane Lawson

Star Anise


also known as Chinese anise

Arguably the spice world's most beautiful member, star anise takes the form of an eightpointed star, with each spoke containing an ellipselike compartment holding a single seed.

Actually the fruit of a tree native to Southern China, star anise is harvested when the fruit is unripe and then dried. Their fragile make-up means that it tends to break during handling—however, although this is aesthetically not as appealing, it doesn't compromise the flavor.

It is a major ingredient in many of China's braised dishes, as well as master stocks, and is one of the essential spices in five-spice (page 394 of the book). It is also integral to Vietnam's classic beef noodle soup, pho.

Star anise has a warm, woody, aniseed flavor, and is, somewhat surprisingly, 13 times sweeter than sugar. So, although pairing beautifully with many Asian meat dishes, it is also finding an identity in contemporary cooking in sweet dishes, such as fruit and custard desserts.

Star Anise recipes and page numbers in the book:


Buy The Spice Bible


The Spice Bible:
Essential Information and More Than 250 Recipes
Using Spices, Spice Mixes, and Spice Pastes


This page created May 2008