Fennel vs Anise seeds

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by koukouvagia, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Is there a difference? How do you use each? Are they interchangeable?
     
  2. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Fennel and anise seeds are the pretty much the same, flavor wise, even though they are two different plants. Shucks - one is an annual, one a perennial, but I can't remember which is which. I don't use the seeds that much, mostly fresh fennel bulbs which I treat like onions. Fennel seeds are a key ingredient in most southern Italian style sausages.

    I almost picked fennel as the challenge ingredient for the month.

    mjb.
     
  3. chefross

    chefross

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    Fennel is the annual. I grow it here but have found that sometime they do re-seed themselves.
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I think star anise is stronger in flavor, or maybe pungent is a better term, and less sweet as well compared to fennel seed. Fennel seed toasts into a nice snack. Anise toasts into a good flavor but I don't want to ingest one whole. 

    For those reasons, I'd reach for star anise for flavoring liquids like broth and wassail but remove before serving. Fennel is something I'd use in things whole, and again, mostly western cuisine. 

    The exception is Indian cuisine where fennel seed has some fun use. I'm quite a fan of Madhur Jaffrey's Cabbage to taste like Fennel.  Much cheaper than fennel too. I don't use as much oil as listed in the recipe. 
     
  5. rawbar15

    rawbar15

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    Star anise and anise are not the same.  Fennel and anise seeds have very similar flavor profiles.  I feel as if fennel has a slightly more "green" flavor and is more mild.
     
  6. cocoanut

    cocoanut

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    I would agree that anise is very similar to fennel, but like much like star anise, it is more "pungent". It also lends itself extremely well to both red meat and spiced biscotti, for what its worth. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/licklips.gif
     
  7. teamfat

    teamfat

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    A favorite dish of mine is shortribs braised in dark beer with fennel bulb and tart cherries.

    mjb.