The tear-shaped seeds are unmistakably identified by their distinctive licorie-like flavor. Anise is not related to the European plant whose roots are the source of true licorie.
Despite its sweetness, star anise traditionally is used in savory recipes, particularly with meats. It often is added whole to soups, stews and braising broths, to which it adds a sweet-licorice-peppery flavor.
Tips and Techniques
Star anise can be used whole or ground. When whole, it usually is added to liquids destined for a slow simmer or braise. It usually is removed and discarded from the dish before serving.