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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Off the Shelf
A licorice-flavored star attraction

By Joan Namkoong
Advertiser Food Editor

When you want to add the flavor of licorice to braised or stewed dishes and soups, look for star anise. The botanical name is Illucium verum; the brown, star-shaped seed pod of the magnolia family is used whole and is essential to Chinese five-spice powder. Star anise is believed to aid digestion and freshen the breath.

Add it to oxtail soup; it is a key flavoring in Vietnamese pho (beef noodle soup). Place a couple in the cavity of a soy-sauce braised chicken along with cinnamon. Store in an airtight jar away from light and heat.