Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tomato-Star Anise soup

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy Chinese New Year!

7th February is the beginning of the rat year for the Chinese. Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the New Year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the New Year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade.

A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family, near and far away, get together for the celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. Red packets for the immediate family are sometimes distributed during the reunion dinner. These packets often contain money in certain numbers that reflect good luck and honorability. Several foods are consumed to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune.

STEAMBOAT, or food cooked communally in a simmering pot of broth at the table, is traditional reunion dinner fare for Hokkiens, says a spokesman for the Hokkien Huay Kuan. For more details, please visit the following website:

The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve years after an animal. Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from earth. Only twelve came to bid him farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality, saying: "This is the animal that hides in your heart." The names of the 12 animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake,Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. For more details, you can visit the following website:

Tomato-Star Anise Soup

This is my submission for Think spice…Think star anise-February event hosted by Sunita Of

Flower of Star Anise...

Native to China and Vietnam, today the star anise tree is mainly grown in China and Japan although it is also cultivated in Laos, the Philippines, Indonesi

a and Jamaica. In China, apart from its use in cooking, Mandarins used to chew the whole dried fruit as a breath freshener and it was also used for other medicinal purposes such as in the treatment of colic, flatulence and nausea.

The tree is propagated by seed and requires a lot of water in a well-drained, acid soil to grow well. Although it takes 5 years to flower, an

d generally only starts to bear fruit when it is 6 years old, it is a very long-lived tree and often continues to bear fruit for almost 100 years. The fruit, or more properly, seed pods, are harvested before they ripen after which they are sun-dried. The red-

brown, star-shaped seeds contain 5-10 oval sections up to 12mm/ ½ -inch in length, each containing an oval seed. These pods are then either packaged whole or ground ready for sale. Both the pods and the seeds are used when ground. For more details, please visit the following site. I found this recipe in the same site and made a little change.


Riped tomatoes-4
Star anise-2

Fresh coriander leaves-a few
Ginger paste-a small piece
Pepper-1 teasoon
Salt-1 teaspoon
Vegetable oil or butter-1 tablsespoon
Toasted bread pieces-a few

When the soup is boiling…


  1. Cut the tomatoes, potato, onion and beans into small pieces.
  2. Transfer them into a microwaveable bowl and add four cups of water.
  3. Add the oil, star anise and ginger piece and boil it in the oven for 30 minutes.
  4. After every ten minutes stop the oven and stir and mash the ingredients.
  5. After 30 minutes, take out the bowl and remove the skin of tomato pieces, ginger and star anise.
  6. Add the coriander leaves, pepper and salt and boil for four more minutes.
  7. Serve hot with the toasted bread slices. If you want to make it on a stove, heat the oil and fry the vegetables until they become brown in colour.
  8. Add the water and and start boiling. Once the vegetables are cooked, lower the flame and cook for twenty minutes.
  9. Remove the skin of tomato pieces, ginger piece and star anise and mash the vegetables.
  10. Add the coriander leaves, pepper and salt serve hot along with the toasted bread slices.


Asha said...

Happy new year! I am a Dragon btw!!Hahaha!!
Tomato saar with floating Star Anise looks wonderful with light flavor of spice there. Enjoy Vijaya!:))

Daily Meals said...

Thank you Asha! We have a long weekend due to Chinese New Year this week.
Dragons are said to be popular individuals:)

Uma said...

Looks delicious!

Sagari said...

that star spice looks so beautiful in that soup vijaya

sunita said...

Vijaya,I love your soup..must be so aromatic...thanks for sending it over :-)

Daily Meals said...

Thank you Uma!

Thank you Sagari!

Daily Meals said...

Thank you Sunita! You are right, the star anise did give the soup a nice aroma.

Dhivya said...

hey creative idea.....great entry..thanks for dropping by

Daily Meals said...

Thank you Dhivya!

shriya said...

Lovely soup with anise spice. It must have given rich flavor to the soup. Really tempting.

Daily Meals said...

Thank you Shriya!

Rajitha said...

wow! this is new to me..looks delicious..

Daily Meals said...

Thank you Rajita, for your kind words.