Star anise is the star-shaped fruit of a small Oriental evergreen tree. Stars with more than the normal 8 "arms" are considered to be good luck - the Chinese equivalent of the four-leaf-clover. This spice has a strong, sweet licorice aroma and flavour.
Anise, Star Whole
Star anise is essential to Chinese cuisine. It combines especially well with port and duck. Because it is very pungent, only a very small amount is required. Add a pinch to a stir-fry or a single star to soup for flavour. Also goes well in sweet dishes like jams.