These delightfully warm star shaped fruits are harvested just before ripening. It's then dried in the sun where it developes it's red-dark brown colour and a sweet warm flavour that's reminiscent of licorice, clove and aniseed (it's unrealated to any of these) Commonly called Star Anise, Star Aniseed or Chinese star aniseed is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavor, obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium verum, a medium-sized native evergreen tree. Star Anise is a member of the magnolia family.
Asian cooks use star anise to give a licorice flavor to savory dishes, particularly those with pork and poultry. It's a main ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder. A key role in characterizing Chinese cuisine, featured in signiture Vietnamese dishes, a secret ingredient in many Indian curries and in western dishes it can replace regular anise and be added to many dishes to give and add flavour to slow cooked stews and fruit deserts
Star anise is also used to flavour alcoholic drinks such as the French Pastis.
-- a little goes a long way.
Matches well with: duck, eggs, fish, leeks, pastry, pears, pork, poultry, pumpkin, shrimp... slow cooked cassaroles. Loves to be matched up with citrus too. Try adding a leaf to a stir-fry or to the liquid for poaching pears or other fruit.