What is Anis Estrellado?
Anis estrellado or Star anise is a star shaped spice from Southeast Asia with a smoky, licorice like flavor. Anise estrellado is small to medium evergreen tree of the magnolia family. It is star shaped as the name suggests, and has between five to ten pointed sections, around eight on average. The hard pointed sections contain seed pods. They are very hard skinned and rusty colored, they measure up to 3cm (1-1/4”) long. The fruit is picked prior to them ripening, and then dried. Anis estrellado can be bought whole, or ground into a brownish red powder.
Anis Estrellado Uses
Anis Estrellado is used in sweetmeats and confectionery. It is often used with poultry and meat dishes, combining particularly well with pork and duck. In Oriental red cooking, in which the ingredients are slow cooked for a prolonged time period in dark soy sauce, Anis Estrellado is almost always combined with beef and chicken dishes. Chinese soups and stocks frequently use this spice. Mandarins with jaded palates chew the whole dried fruit habitually as a
postprandial digestant and breath sweetener. In Western Europe and the Americas, anis estrellado is put in fruit compotes and jams, as well as in the making of anise-flavoured liqueurs, the most known being anisette.
Medicinal Properties of Anis Estrellado
Like anise, star anise has carminative, stomachic, stimulant and diuretic properties. It is sometimes used to fight colic and rheumatism. It’s a popular flavoring for therapeutic teas, cough mixes and pastilles.