Star anise and Anise seed are two spices that not only have a similar pronunciation but also share a similar flavor profile. Given how similar their tastes are, some chefs think they can be used interchangeably. However, they are not totally the same. Let’s examine the differences and similarities between star anise and anise seed.
An overview of star anise and anise seed
Many people are confused between star anise and anise seed. Before getting to know the differences between star anise and anise seed, let’s explore what they are!
what is anise seed
Anise seed: Anise seed is a small, brown, oblong seed derived from the plant Pimpinella anisum, which belongs to the Apiaceae family. The plant is indigenous to the eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia.
what is star anise
Star anise: Star anise is an exotic, star-shaped spice derived from the fruit of a tiny evergreen tree endemic to China and Vietnam (Illicium verum). The spice is named after its distinctive shape, which includes of eight segments or points, each surrounding a tiny seed.
Differences between star anise and anise seed
In this section, K-Agriculture would like to point out the main differences between star anise and anise seed in appearance, flavour and culinary uses.
Anise seeds are usually 2-3 mm long and have a slightly curved form. They are typically light to medium brown in color, though this can vary depending on the variety or the degree of maturity at the harvest time. The seed’s surface is smooth and glossy. The seeds are often sold whole, although they are also offered in the powder form.
The star anise fruit has the shape of a star. Each star includes eight points or segments, each enclosing a tiny, hard seed. The fruit is typically dark brown in color, though this might vary significantly according to different varieties. The fruit’s surface is rough and somewhat wrinkled. Star anise is often offered as whole star anise. Sometimes it is also ground into a star anise powder. Star anise has a characteristic form and is normally about 2-3 centimeters in diameter. The dried fruit is slightly firm but still malleable, with a rich, aromatic scent.
Flavor and culinary uses
Star anise and anise seed have similar but distinct flavors. The taste of star anise is a strong licorice flavor with a tinge of clove flavor. The flavor is stronger and more pungent than anise seed since it is derived from the component anethole, which is found in both star anise and anise seed. But the concentration of anethole in star anise is higher, making its flavor stronger.
Anise seed, on the other hand, has a softer and sweeter licorice-like flavor. The flavor is milder than star anise, but it has licorice flavour. Anise seed has a milder flavor than star anise, which can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
Although both star anise and anise seed have a licorice flavor, they are not interchangeable in cooking and have various uses. Star anise is commonly used in savory foods, especially Asian cuisines, meat dishes, and broths. Anise seed is used in baking, soups, and stews, as well as desserts and liqueurs. They also have many therapeutic qualities and applications.
Dishes with star anise and anise seeds
How can star anise and anise seed be used in cuisine? Let’s explore various ways to use these two types of spice with K-Agriculture!
Dishes with Star anise
Star anise and anise seed is a common spice that appears in lots of dishes, especially Asian dishes. Here are a few tips on how to use star anise in cooking:
Pho: A traditional Vietnamese noodle soup scented with star anise, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and other spices and usually made with beef or chicken.
Chinese Five-Spice Powder: A spice blend that comprises star anise, cinnamon, fennel, cloves, and Szechuan pepper, it is often used to flavor meat dishes in Chinese cuisine, such as pork and duck.
Braised Pork Belly: This classic Chinese cuisine consists of braised pork belly seasoned with star anise, soy sauce, and other spices.
Mulled Wine: A traditional winter beverage created by boiling red wine with spices such star anise, cinnamon, and cloves.
Beef Stew: Star anise, along with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, is added to provide depth of flavor to beef stews.
Tea: Star Anise is used to flavor teas and has therapeutic effects in traditional Chinese medicine.
Liqueurs: Star anise is used to flavor liqueurs such as sambuca, an anise-flavored liqueur from Italy.
These are just a few instances of how star anise can be used to lend a unique and distinct flavor to a range of foods.
Dishes with Anise seed
Anise seed is a multi-purpose spice that may be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Here are a few meals in which anise seed is regularly used:
Bakery: Anise seed is widely used in baked items such as breads, cakes, and cookies. It is especially popular in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, where it is used to make classic desserts such as biscotti and pizzelle.
Savory food: Anise seed is frequently used in savory foods, particularly soups and stews. It can be used to enhance depth of flavor to broths and stocks.
Meat recipes: Anise seed can be used to flavor hog, duck, and poultry dishes. It is frequently used with other spices such as fennel seed, black pepper, garlic, and cumin.
Seasonings: Anise seed can be used in meat, poultry, and fish seasoning blends and rubs.Anise seed can be used to enhance the flavor of braised or roasted root vegetables, especially carrots and parsnips.
Tea: Anise seed is used in tea blends to impart a licorice flavor and scent, and it has some therapeutic benefits.
These are just a few examples of how anise seed can be used to lend a unique and distinct flavor to a range of foods.
Substitution of star anise and anise seed
While the aromas of star anise and anise seed are similar, they are not interchangeable and cannot be used interchangeably. However, there are various alternatives to either spice that can be used as a substitute:
For star anise, we can use:
- Chinese five-spice powder: A spice blend made up of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and Szechuan pepper.
- Anise extract or oil: It can be added to give a dish a licorice flavor. However, because it is considerably more concentrated than the spice, it should be used carefully.
- Fennel seed: It has a licorice-like flavor comparable to star anise, but it is milder and sweeter.
For anise seed, we can use:
- Star anise: Star anise can be used in place of anise seed, however, it should be used in fewer amounts due to its stronger flavor.
- Fennel seed: It has a licorice-like flavor comparable to anise seed, however, it is milder and sweeter.
- Licorice root powder can be used to impart a licorice flavor to a dish, but it should be used sparingly because it has a stronger flavor.
It is important to remember that these alterations may change the flavour of the dish
This article has pointed out the main differences in appearance, taste, and uses between star anise and anise seed. Each type of spice has its own unique flavor that you should try. Hopefully, through this article, you have learned some interesting ways to use star anise and anise seeds
Star anise is a common spice in high demand around the world. Need a place where to buy whole star anise with competitive prices and high quality? Contact K-Agriculture Factory because we are supplying whole star anise and broken star anise from the spring crop and autumn crop.
Need more advice for star anise and anise seeds, contact K-Agriculture via number +84 85 5555 837 (WhatsApp available) or fill in the below form. We are proud to be one of the a leading agricultural factory in Vietnam with a huge volume monthly.