Star Anise is a star-shaped, dark brown pod that contains a pea-size seeds. Native to China, star anise comes from a small evergreen tree. The whole pod is dried before use.
Star anise gives a licorice flavor to savory dishes. It is widely used in Asian and Indian cuisine. Whole star anise is used to flavor tea, marinades, and soups. This spice is often used with pork and poultry. It’s available whole or ground and is an ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder. Remember that this spice is bitterer than common anise so use it sparingly.
It is also a major ingredient in the making of pho a Vietnamese noodle soup.
Here are some recipes for Pho:
Pho from Food Network Kitchen
Pho from Steamy Kitchen
Pho from Epicurious