Burmese chicken

Star Anise –a discrete seasoning component

Ever wondered where the flavour and distinct taste arises from an Indian or Oriental delicacy? It emanates from a component called Star anise or aniseed, a star shaped fruit of an oriental tree which is widely used in Chinese and Indian cuisines for its sweetness to enhance the flavour. A pod shaped flower; dry and hard in texture and commonly called Illicium verum or thakkolam, this ingredient was first used in European cuisine in the seventeenth century in the form of aniseed oil. Native to China and Vietnam, it is grown in China, Japan and India, Star anise are used as an exotic spice to marinate meat, vegetables, pickles, curry, liquors, beverages, desserts, custard, pudding, pastries, bakery products etc. The fruit is dried and available in star shape or ground to form a powder, reddish brown in colour.

Health Benefits of Star anise or Chakra Phool

Star anise besides its usage as cooking ingredient with licorice like smell has medicinal benefits to fight common ailments. Also known as Chakra Phool in India for its boat shaped edges, the fruit is a storehouse of Vitamin A and Vitamin C; facilitates digestion when chewed, treats common cold and cough, asthma and rheumatic ailments in the form of Star anise tea. Enriched with minerals like potassium, zinc and magnesium, thymol, terpineol and anethole, star anise aids in controlling heart beat and blood pressure, reduce the onset of diabetes, early ageing, cramps and nausea. It adds a dash of flavour when added to a common cup of Masala tea. For its exotic content, the fruit is added as a key constituent in Biriyani, seafood, curry, oriental dishes and poultry and so on. It is also used as a dressing component in Asian and Eurasian dishes and cuisines. It is used as a prime ingredient in Indian Garam Masala, a mix of several spices.

 Recipe - Burmese Chicken Curry cooked in Star anise

Ingredients

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 star anise

8 chicken pieces with bone (no fat)

1 cup frozen peas

450 grams sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

¼  cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder

1 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves for seasoning

Salt and pepper for taste

Instructions  

  • Heat oil in a saucepan, add the chopped onion and sauté for 3 minutes on medium flame. Add star anise, chopped garlic, cardamom powder, turmeric powder and chili pepper. Stir and cook for a minute and add the chicken pieces and mix well. Cook till the chicken is soft.
  • Pour coconut milk and cover the pan for 20 minutes for cooking. Thereafter, add the peas and sweet potato and continue to cook for 10 more minutes. Stir in between till the sweet potato becomes crisp.
  • Add the fish sauce and stir the ingredients on low flame.
  • Remove the pan from heat, add cilantro leaves for seasoning. Serve hot with a steaming bowl of rice.

Enjoy a delightful savory meal of Burmese chicken curry cooked in spicy star anise.  

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