Gulab Jamun is an indian street food. It is made with milk powder and yogurt as its primary ingredients which gives it a “pastillas”-like texture. Aside from that it is soaked with a Cardamom Syrup which is local ingredient in india, but for today I decided to substitute Cardamom with Star Anise, a common spice in the Chinese cuisine, since it is not available. It gave an interesting hybrid of flavors from the indian and Chinese cuisine.
Native to China and Vietnam, star anise is today grown almost exclusively in southern China, Indo-China, and Japan. Star anise, is sometimes called Chinese star anise. It’s important to distinguish it from Japanese star anise, which is highly toxic. Star anise is not related to the common anise. It was first introduced into Europe in the seventeenth century. The oil, produced by a process of steam extraction, is substituted for European aniseed in commercial drinks.
Star anise is the unusual fruit of a small oriental tree. It is, as the name suggests, star shaped, radiating between five and ten pointed boat-shaped sections, about eight on average. These hard sections are seed pods. Tough skinned and rust coloured, they measure up to 3cm (1-1/4”) long. The fruit is picked before it can ripen, and dried. The stars are available whole, or ground to a red-brown powder.
Aside from that, star anise has its own curative properties just like most of the spice, the few are the following:
- Like anise, star anise has carminative, stomachic, stimulant and diuretic properties. In the East it is used to combat colic and rheumatism. It is a common flavouring for medicinal teas, cough mixtures and pastilles.
- The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of star anise is useful in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and dry cough. For this reason, some cough mixtures contain star anise extract.
- The oil of star anise is useful in providing relief from rheumatism and lower back pain. Star anise can also be used as a natural breath freshener. Linalool, a compound present in star anise contains anti-oxidants properties
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Photo and Video Source:
- Ingco, Richmond
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