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Stewed Rhubarb with Star Anise and Ginger

by Jeanette on June 1, 2011 · 15 Comments
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Rhubarb Compote
This past weekend, I picked up some fresh rhubarb from ourlocal farmer’s market. I have never cooked rhubarb before, but have been meaning to try it for a while.

The rhubarb I usually see in the supermarket is red, but the ones at the farmer’s market were light green speckled with pink. As I stood in line, there were several woman talking about the rhubarb “sticks.” I joined in on the conversation to find out how these ladies cooked their rhubarb. Both of them suggested simply cooking the rhubarb in just a little bit of water and sugar for 20 minutes. They said they enjoyed eating rhubarb just like that. I thought how simple, and what an easy way to try cooking rhubarb for the first time. Although strawberry rhubarb pie seems to be quite popular, I wanted to taste rhubarb on its own since this was the first time I was cooking with it.

A Simple Stewed Rhubarb with Star Anise and Ginger

I decided to spice up the rhubarb a bit and add an Asian twist with some star anise and ginger. Since the rhubarb I picked up was not very red, I cooked it with some pomegranate juice, hoping to add some color. I also added a squeeze of fresh orange juice and orange zest to compliment the star anise and ginger. I started with just 1/4 cup of jaggery, but it was too tart for my taste, so I added more until it was just sweet enough, but still tart.

Although the ladies at the market said to cook the rhubarb for 20 minutes, I ended up cooking it for about 35 minutes and ended up with a velvety smooth consistency. After refrigerating it, I served it with some sweetened coconut milk to round out the tartness in the Stewed Rhubarb. The flavors of the star anise, ginger and orange juice combined with the tartness of the rhubarb reminded me of a Chinese preserved plum that I used to eat as a kid, with a licorice taste. Next time, I might try making a Gluten-Free Crisp using rhubarb.

Stewed Rhubarb with Star Anise and Ginger

If you like some pieces of rhubarb left in the Stewed Rhubarb, reduce the amount of pomegranate juice to 1/4 cup, and cook for 20 minutes only.

Printable Recipe


  • 5 rhubarb “sticks”, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup ground jaggery or coconut sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 one-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced
  • juice and zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • honey or agave nectar, to taste
  • toasted almonds, for garnish


  1. Place rhubarb, pomegranate juice, jaggery, star anise, ginger, orange juice and orange zest in a saucepan. 
  2. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to low and cook for 30-35 minutes until rhubarb breaks down into a thick sauce.
  3. Whip coconut milk with honey to taste until well blended.
  4. To serve, spoon stewed rhubarb into glasses. Top with coconut milk. Garnish with toasted almonds.

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  1. Sounds like an easy one! I have not cooked rhubarb before as well and I am always intimidated to try a pie recipe with a veggie ( I think this is a veggie??) I have not tasted before. This recipe seems versatile to use anywhere.
    Hope you are doing great :)

  2. Inside a British Mum's Kitchen says:

    What a delicious recipe, funnily enough I have just come home from shopping with – rhubarb – so guess what I'm about to make!

  3. Jeanette says:

    Ilke – you should try something simple like the stewed rhubarb I made. I'm not a pie maker either. Hope you are well!

  4. Jeanette says:

    Hi Mary – hope you enjoy your rhubarb! I'm so glad I finally tried cooking it – it is so easy to prepare.

  5. Susie Bee on Maui (Eat Little, Eat Big) says:

    What a beautiful presentation. I think I might be more excited about your whipped coconut/honey blend than the rhubarb-hated it as a kid and haven't gotten over it! Great idea to use the star anise to add another note of flavor.

  6. Jeanette says:

    Susie, the whipped coconut honey milk definitely makes this shine – it rounds out the tartness of the rhubarb. Next time, I think I will try combining rhubarb with strawberries or blueberries to add more fruity sweetness.

  7. SMITH BITES says:

    i love rhubarb and my mother used to make stewed – but not w/star anise which just makes my mouth water thinking about! i always have to make at least one strawberry rhubarb pie each season in honor of my dad – it was one of his very favorites!!

  8. Jeanette says:

    I love the licoricey taste of star anise in savory and sweet dishes. Strawberry rhubarb pie seems to be a favorite among many!

  9. wow, i have yet to work with rhubard! didn't know they were green inside! love the combo of anise and ginger~~~!!!

  10. I love the idea of some spices, but didn't the bright tastes of the juices overwhelm the rhubarb?

    I love the pale pink you would have gotten had you cooked the rhubarb you purchased without pomegranate. To me, bright red rhubarb would seem artificial.

  11. Jeanette says:

    Thanks Junia – anise and ginger go together naturally!

    Dineen – taste and color are all a matter of personal preference. I happen to like stronger, more pronounced flavors and brighter colors, so to me, the spices in this stewed rhubarb worked nicely as did the pomegranate juice; however you can simply cook the rhubarb in water and sugar and leave out the spices and juices.

  12. Oh My… what a delicious combination of flavours: rhubarb, anise and ginger… topped off with toasted almonds – yum! I will definitely have to find time for this one, thanks Jeanette!

  13. LaPhemmePhoodie says:

    I just picked up some rhubarb tonight. Deciding what to do with it. I love the flavors you used for this. Very creative.

  14. Jeanette says:

    Glad you all are liking the flavors in this stewed rhubarb – I'll all about full, fragrant flavors!

  15. I have not cooked with rhubarb but I know my mom has a lot. It's a good family favorite to bring back into the kitchen. I'm gonna have to try this one too!

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