I'm glad that this thread was resurrected-- never thought of star anise, but it does have that licorice-y flavor that Thai basil has.
Actually, I just do without making Thai food over the winter/early spring because Thai basil is so difficult to find locally and is so essential (I start seeds in April, then move the pots indoors before the first frost, where the plants will last for about a month before dying). However, in March I found them at an Oriental grocery and it was great-- Thai food practically every day for 2 weeks!
wait... or was the above post spam??? I can never figure it out...
Can't you just eat what I put in front of you? Do you have to know what it is?
Ria Parkinson, Butterflies (BBC, 1978-83)