Star anise makes beef taste even meatier?

Hello All,

Several years ago I heard a well-known Australian chef tell another well-known Australian chef that a pinch of star anise enhances the flavour of meat so I tried mixing it with salt and pepper when seasoning steak and I was suitably impressed. The pinch must be very small. Not everybody likes it, but I do.

Then yesterday I came across this article and the science intrigues me. You might also like to try it out.

The warm spice that makes beef taste even meatier

A warm spice that’s commonly featured in Chinese five-spice powder, star anise packs an intensely sweet licorice-like flavour thanks to a chemical compound known as anethole. But how does such a sweet spice make the meat taste even meatier? When cooked with an allium counterpart, like an onion, star anise releases a sulphur compound that accentuates the savory meat flavour of whatever dish you add it to. This alchemical flavour reaction has been used by the Chinese in countless recipes to beef-up (pun intended) the meaty taste.

To try this meaty update on your next meat dish, consider grating half a star anise and sautéing it with one thinly sliced onion before adding it to a recipe. You’ll want to caramelize the onion slices in a little bit of oil or butter to take out the bite of the raw onion, but otherwise, it’s a fairly low-fuss upgrade for your beef dishes. You’ll need to be sparing with how much star anise you use, as the spice can overpower the other flavours and can even numb your tongue. Start conservatively with your amount and then taste as you go.

Borrowed from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *