As the name suggests the shape of this china born spice is star. This is one of the ingredients of CHINESE Five Spice Powder; star anise is used to flavor tea, marinades, and soups. It is integral to the traditional Vietnamese soup.
Star anise can be used whole or ground. When whole, it usually is added to liquids destined for a slow cooking or just for infusing the aroma. It usually is removed and discarded from the dish before serving. Ground star anise is more versatile. Mix with cinnamon & cardamom for a very special taste and aroma.
Try this to create your own flavor; the smell of star Anise is bit sweet like aniseed. Enjoy Cooking.