Aniseed has a wonderful sweet, aromatic liquorice fragrance, a tangy fresh flavour and can be used to season bread, cakes and biscuits (e.g. Christmas cookies), desserts or for preserving fruits.
Aniseed is commonly used in Arabic, Indian and Asian cookery. It also provides in interesting twist when added to fish or seafood. Aniseed adds a special touch to savoury fillings and minced meat recipes. Try using small amounts of aniseed anywhere where strong flavours and spices are already being used, e.g. ginger, curry, chili, coriander, cumin, lemongrass or garlic.
Whole aniseeds are particularly tasty when cooked for a long time, e.g. in an aromatic rice dish. This is the only way that they can release their full aroma. To make traditional Indian dhal (a lentil-based dish), aniseed is fried in hot oil. It develops the strongest flavour when it is crushed with a mortar and pestle right before use.
Aniseed originally comes from the eastern Mediterranean region and is an ancient herbal remedy, which dissolves mucus in coughs and relieves cramps in gastro-intestinal complaints.