What is Star Anise?

Star Anise-Mama's High Strung 

Ever find one of these hard stars in a Chinese or Vietnamese dish you were enjoying in a restaurant? It's star anise,  the dried, rust-brown star-shaped seedpod of the Chinese magnolia.

It has a pungent licorice flavor that is bitter... but that isn’t a bad thing! When you add it to slow-cooked or simmered dishes, star anise makes the flavor of the whole dish pop.

Besides adding incredible flavor to slow-cooked and simmered soups and stews, it is also used to cure colic in babies!  

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