Star Anise/ Badian
Star Anise- Star Anise Seed or Chinese Star Anise is a spice obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium Verum, a native evergreen tree of northeast Vietnam and Southwest China.
Star Anise – The Dried Fruit Spice
The star-shaped fruits are reddish brown, consisting of 6-8 carpels which are about 10mm long, boat shaped, hard and wrinkled containing seeds that are brown, compressed, ovoid, smooth, shiny and brittle. It is arranged in a whorl and is harvested just before ripening.
It is indigenous to South Eastern China and it commercial production is limited to China and Vietnam.
The crop needs precise agro climatic conditions which are available only in the traditional growing areas, and has prevented repeated attempts of other countries to grow Star Anise.
However it prefers woodlands, sunny edges, and dappled shade. The plant grows well in humus rich, mildly acidic to neutral soils, which are light to medium and having good drainage. It bears temperatures down to –10 degree Celsius.
Star Anise is an alternative substitute for Anise in baking as well as in liquor production in the West. It is also used in the production of Sambuca, Pastis and many types of Absinthe.
It also enhances the flavour of meat, vegetables and to marinate meat and used as a condiment for flavouring curries, confectionaries, spirits, and for pickling. The essential oil of star anise is used to flavour soft drinks, bakery products and liquors.
In Indian cuisine, it is used as a spice in preparation of biriyani and masala chai, also a major component of Garam Masala. It is widely used in Malay and Indonesian cuisines.
In Chinese cuisine, Star Anise is an ingredient of the traditional five spice powder and signature flavours of savoury cooking.
It is also major ingredient in the making of pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup.
It is also an ingredient in the Vin Chaud, a French recipe of mulled wine.
It is a traditional remedy for rheumatism and aid to digestion. In China, it is considered as a warm and moving herb.
The fruit is anti-bacterial, carminative, diuretic and stomachic. It is considered useful in flatulence and spasmodic.
Star Anise oil is highly fragrant and edible. It is also used in perfumery, soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes and skin creams.
90% of the World’s Star Anise crop is used for extraction of Shikimic Acid, a chemical intermediate used in the synthesis of Oseltamivir.