Cooking with the stars…

by Sunita on February 25, 2008

No, I have not suddenly become some sort of a celebrity. I was just cooking with star anise and got a bit carried away :-)

When I started my monthly event Think spice, I had done it with the intention of increasing my know how about the world of spices. Although I have been quite familiar with all the spices that have been previously featured in this event, the so many varied ways in which the particular spice was used by dear fellow bloggers , was definitely not.

This month, the chosen spice…star anise, is, not a regular on my spice rack. In fact, I have to admit that I have never cooked with it on it’s own. When I bought a jar of this pretty looking spice a few days ago, I was really intrigued by it’s looks and it’s flavour. Googling around for a bit of inspiration, I stumbled upon this simple carrot soup with star anise and made up my mind to give it a try; and I must say that I was not disappointed. The thick creamy soup, flavoured with star anise, immediately struck a chord and we really enjoyed it. This is, of course, as it’s all too obvious, my entry for Think Spice…think star anise.

I haven’t changed the recipe much, except reducing the butter a bit and pureeing a little of the spice along with the carrots…the original recipe says to discard the spices before pureeing the carrots. I also used dried herbs as I had run out of the fresher ones and used a little more than the single clove of garlic asked for . So, here’s the recipe for carrot soup with star anise.

What’s needed-

1 kg carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tblsp of butter
2 bay leaves
1 tblsp dried thyme
3 whole star anise, divided
4 C chicken(or vegetable) stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

To garnish-

A few whole star anise (eye candy;-)) and another few of them, ground.

How to-

  1. Heat the butter in a deep pan.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, star anise, bay leaf and fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and thyme and fry for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat, cover and simmer till the carrots are very tender.
  6. Discard the bay leaves and 3/4 of the star anise.
  7. Puree the rest of the ingredients and re transfer to the pan over heat.
  8. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and heat through.
  9. Serve hot and garnish each bowl with one whole and a little ground star anise.

That’s it! A lovely aromatic bowl of soup is now ready to be enjoyed !!

Again, a couple of days ago, dear Pravs considered my humble space worthy enough to pass on the following award.

Thanks Pravs. And, in my acceptance speech, I dedicate this award to all my excellent fellow bloggers and readers without whom this simple world of mine would have lost much of it’s dynamism. Thanks everyone …I pass this on to each one of you. It’s been a real pleasure to have known you :-)

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Srivalli February 25, 2008 at 11:17 am

thats a nice looking one…nice to know that this spice can be used in a soup like this too…and congrats on the award!

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2 Nags February 25, 2008 at 11:19 am

the star anise you get abroad is so pretty and well shaped. the ones in India are practically crushed and powder already!! All the A quality stuff gets shipped across, I am telling you!! Sheesh :D

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3 Rachel February 25, 2008 at 11:21 am

:D DD mailed you!

Congrats!

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4 SMN February 25, 2008 at 11:46 am

Congrats for the Award. fell in love wth the photos.. innovative idea to use stars for the soup. thanks for sharing

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5 Shella February 25, 2008 at 11:51 am

that is a great award Sunita. You truly desreve it…the soup looks awesome…thick n am sure the star anise lent a lovely flavour

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6 Lavanya Raj February 25, 2008 at 12:37 pm

soup looks so thick and creamy..congrads on the award too.

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7 Gretchen Noelle February 25, 2008 at 1:02 pm

This looks like an enticing bowl of delicious soup! I love that you are learning more about spices through your own event! That is fantastic!

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8 Asha February 25, 2008 at 1:18 pm

YUMMY looking soup. Thick and gorgeous color too!:))
Enjoy the award, well deserved.

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9 sunita February 25, 2008 at 1:37 pm

Srivalli,
thanks…I too was really intrigued…glad that I tried it out :-)

nags,
:-D DD

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10 sunita February 25, 2008 at 1:39 pm

rachel,
Thanks…but haven’t received your mail yet :-(

smn,
Thanks…the soup did have a nice flavour indeed :-)

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11 sunita February 25, 2008 at 1:40 pm

shella,
Thanks…and yes, the anise did add a nice flavour indeed.

lavanya,
Thanks…we did enjoy the soup.

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12 sunita February 25, 2008 at 1:42 pm

gretchen,
Thanks…and oh yes! I’m learning so much, thanks to all of you :-)

Asha,
Thanks…I’m really glad to have stumbled upon this recipe :-)

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13 Mike of Mike's Table February 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm

The soup looks delicious and sounds like a great way to enjoy carrots. I’ve only been using star anise somewhat recently as well and it really is a fun one to play with. Just adds that little hint of something subtle and seductive to the flavor.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything for “Think Spice” in time this month…hopefully next month!

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14 Shilpa February 25, 2008 at 3:26 pm

This is one spice I have never used, donno why. I think its high time now. The soup looks very inviting.

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15 Dhivya February 25, 2008 at 3:52 pm

wow!looks wondderful…pic looks really yummy..congrats on ur award

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16 Happy cook February 25, 2008 at 4:54 pm

I love carrot soup. Never added star anise in it, will try next time.
Congrats with the E award

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17 musical February 25, 2008 at 7:16 pm

What a dazzling soup and veery starry too :) . Gotta’ try this one! And congrats on the award, Sunita!

This corner personifies excellence!

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18 Kalai February 25, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Congratulations on the well deserved award! The soup looks delicious and creamy with adorable stars on top. Great recipe and wonderful photos! :)

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19 Richa February 25, 2008 at 10:03 pm

cooking with the stars seems to hv worked well for you, Sunita!
congrats on the award.

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20 Superchef February 26, 2008 at 12:31 am

looks delicious and what a wonderful way to have carrots!! :) n congrats!!

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21 Pooja V February 26, 2008 at 1:55 am

Congrats on the award. The soup looks delicious.

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22 Namratha February 26, 2008 at 3:12 am

You are a star yourself don’t worry :) Love the look of the soup, creamy and yummy :D

congrats on the award..I have an award too for you on my blog..:)

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23 KALVA February 26, 2008 at 4:33 am

Yummmm,,, love it

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24 Suganya February 26, 2008 at 5:11 am

Sunita, Thats one comforting bowl of soup. I too use star anise along with other masalas for pulao. But never as a stand-alone spice. Looking at the photo, I thought it was sweet potato puree. I bet star anise tastes good in that too.

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25 vegeyum February 26, 2008 at 10:55 am

How pretty this soup is.

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26 sunita February 26, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Mike,
Thanks…I am really glad to have found this spice…and don’t worry about not participating this month…do so at your own leisure…no pressures :-)

Shilpa,
Thanks…I too hadn’t used it before :-) …give it a try.

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27 sunita February 26, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Dhivya,
Thanks…glad you dropped by :-)

Happy cook,
Thanks…do give the soup a try…I’m sure you’ll love it :-)

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28 sunita February 26, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Musical,
Thanks dearie…do give this a soup a try :-)

Kalai,
Thanks…it is a very simple recipe…I’m glad I tried it too :-)

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29 sunita February 26, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Richa,
It surely has…thanks dearie :-)

superchef,
Thanks…it was indeed a pleasant way indeed :-)

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30 sunita February 26, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Pooja V ,
Thanks…nice to have you over :-)

namratha,
Thanks a lot for thinking of me :-)

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31 sunita February 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Kalva,
Thanks :-D D

Suganya,
Thanks…I’m really glad I tried this spice on it’s own…and yes, it would probably go well with sweet potatoes as well :-)

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32 sunita February 26, 2008 at 8:28 pm

vegeyum,
Thanks…it tasted good too :-)

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33 AnuZi February 26, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Sunita, Our world is dynamic because of kind and talented people like you. No matter how busy your day is, you always take time out to share your recipes and feel close enough to rant and rave like we are you’re family. And for new foodie bloggers like me…well all the encouraging comments you leave….are just high motivation :o ) So congrats…you deserve the award.

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34 Pragyan February 26, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Hi Sunita, I have got something for you, maybe you have already received it. Please do accept it as a token of appreciation for your kind and inspiring words. Thanks, Pragyan

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35 sunita February 27, 2008 at 9:54 am

Anu,
thanks dear for those kind words…

Pragyan,
Thanks for thinking of me…was nice indeed :-D

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36 Aparna February 27, 2008 at 1:29 pm

I have to thank you for making me discover the world of star anise. I googled anf found a few recipes using it that I will try out eventually.
Lovely soup and your pictures look great, as usual.

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37 Seena March 4, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Thanks Sunita,
I think I haven’t commented here yet, but have visited before.. Your pictures here are really very nice!
Great to host events every month!! :)

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