What is the difference in taste between star of anise and fennel

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ChefOno
ChefOno May 3, 2012

Assuming you're referring to star anise and fennel seed -- they both have similar flavors due to the chemical anethole that is common to both and, coincidently, to anise as well (three different plants). Star anise has the strongest flavor among them.

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pierino
pierino May 3, 2012

ChefOno is correct. Often recipes will advise you to break off a single point from star anise, as it is that intense. It's one of the flavors is Chinese Five Spice.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 May 4, 2012

Star Anise has a much stronger taste, it's a component of many Asian style broths--like "pho" or red-cooking meat in Asian style. (braised in soy sauce)..and as mentioned in the 'five spice powder'.
It also has undertones of cinnamon to me as a back note to the flavor; a more sharp aggressive taste than fennel seeds.

Fennel seed has a more pronounced licorice flavor, for taste; you're probably more familiar with it as the primary flavoring in Italian sausage meat on pizzas. In fact crushed fennel seeds on a pizza (just a pinch) will give it a boost of that flavoring.
They're cousins in flavor, but like a garlic, or shallot or onion, they aren't oh so quite equal in flavor to sub one for the other.

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ChefOno
ChefOno May 4, 2012

I like that analogy, Sam, especially if you throw tarragon into the mix.

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