5 Benefits of Star Anise, Chakri Phool
Herbs and spices have always had a very special place in Indian kitchen. Star anise is no exception to it. Star Anise, also known as chakri phool, is known for its peculiar star-shape as well as its aroma. It is essentially a fruit of the Chinese tree Illicium verum. It is picked before it ripens, dried, and sold as a spice.
5 Spice Powder ( Chinese Cooking )
It’s is a very important ingredient of Chinese 5 spice powder. In Indian cuisine, star anise is added to make many spice powders while also being a part of some Maharashtrian delicacies like Malvani gravy and Vangi Bhaat. In fact, you will be surprised that many restaurants also flavor their Basic Rice for Biryani with star anise.
Basic Malvani Gravy
Star Anise if store properly lasts really for a long time. It should always be stored in a well-sealed container in a cool and dry place so that it maintains its colour, flavor and aroma. Sometimes if the star anise is very old it lends neither its colour nor aroma to the spice powders or tea.
Not more than 2 to 3 star anise are usually used in cooking and making special powders as mentioned, thus its nutritional content is not of much relevance. However the main highlighting compounds of star anise are its antioxidants – quercetin, linalool, anethole and shikimic acid. Together they provide a host of health benefits.
5 Health Benefits of Star Anise
- Star Anise – a potent spice to ward off Bacteria: Anethole, linalool and shikimic acid are the compounds of star anise which have a role to play in kicking off the bacteria. Star anise extract has been used in treating some urinary tract infections as well infections due to E. coli bacteria.
- Star Anise – a soothing agent for Cold and Cough: The shikimic acid present in the star anise possess the strength to fight bacteria and virus. Sipping on Star Anise Tea during cold and cough is thus a great relief as boiling star anise in water to make its tea helps benefit from some of its antioxidants and the hot water is all the more soothing for the throat. Many pharmaceuticals have used star anise is one of the most important ingredient in treating influenza.
Star Anise Tea, Indian Home Remedy for Cold and Cough
- Star Anise – helps to overcome fungal infections: Some popular ointments have been used to ward off fungal infections as proven in some research.
- Star Anise – a skin tonner: The essential oils extracted from the star anise are peculiarly known to lend that absolutely wondrous effects on the skin. It helps in repairing the skin cells and adding a rejuvenating effecting while toning it and giving that wrinkle free skin.
- Star Anise – boosts overall health: This spice’s ability of warding of free radicals from the body due to its antioxidant action helps to maintain the health of body cells. This also helps in reducing the oxidative stress in the body and protecting various organs like heart, lungs, liver, pancreas etc. This property of star anise is also a way to protect us from cancer.
5 popular spice powder recipes using star anise
- Sandwich Masala - Sandwich masala is a spice mix made with different Indian spices which is then used to perk up the flavour of the very famous dish that is sandwich, it adds in a unique flavour to the sandwich.
- Biryani Masala – Biryani masala powder is an essential item in a typical Indian kitchen. Cooked with a mix of rice and veggies, biryani masala powder gives rise to an aromatic and flavourful Biryani that will steal everyone’s hearts.
- Dabeli Masala Powder – The Homemade Dabeli Masala Powder is used to make the popular Gujarati snack, Dabeli, where a potato mixture flavoured with this masala is sandwiched between butter-roasted ladi pav.
Homemade Dabeli Masala Powder
- Goda Masala - The Goda Masala can be seen as the Maharashtrian version of garam masala. It is used in several traditional Maharashtrian dishes, to give a tongue-tickling flavour and appetizing aroma.
- Malwani Masala Powder – Malvani Masala is a popular Maharashtrian spice mix, which is used to flavour curries and subzis. This dry spice powder has a very appetizing flavour and irresistible aroma, which results from the interplay of over a dozen spices!
Malvani Masala, Homemade Maharashtrian Malvani Masala
A Word of Caution!
While the Chinese star anise is known to have the potential benefits, the Japanese star anise is considered inedible and poisonous. So varieties of tea and powder available in the market are known to make use of this Japanese variety. Kindly read the food labels before any product.
Also if you experience any kind of allergy, nausea or vomiting with a particular variety of star anise bought, kindly discontinue it and visit your doctor.