coriander/cilantro

A bit of edible greenery, in a posting I’ll soon use for another purpose: coriander / cilantro,

From Wikipedia:

Coriander (… Coriandrum sativum), also known as cilantro …, Chinese parsley or dhania, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and northern Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft plant growing to 50 cm (20 in) tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers are borne in small umbels, white or very pale pink … The fruit is a globular, dry schizocarp 3–5 mm (0.12–0.20 in) in diameter. The seeds are generally used as a spice or an added ingredient in other foods or recipes, although sometimes they are eaten alone.

(#1)
A plant with pink flowers.

(#2)

A white flower (with a pollinating insect).

Leaves: The leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves, fresh coriander, Chinese parsley, or (in North America) cilantro.

… The leaves have a different taste from the seeds, with citrus overtones. However, some people experience an unpleasant soapy taste or a rank smell and avoid the leaves.

The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian foods (such as chutneys and salads); in Chinese and Thai dishes; in Mexican cooking, particularly in salsa and guacamole and as a garnish; and in salads in Russia and other CIS countries. Chopped coriander leaves are a garnish on Indian dishes such as dal. As heat diminishes their flavour, coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish immediately before serving. In Indian and Central Asian recipes, coriander leaves are used in large amounts and cooked until the flavour diminishes.

(#3)

Fruits: The dry fruits are known as coriander seeds. In Indian cuisine they are called dhania.

The word coriander in food preparation may refer solely to these seeds (as a spice), rather than to the plant. The seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed, due to terpenes linalool and pinene. It is described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavoured.

… It is commonly found both as whole dried seeds and in ground form. Roasting or heating the seeds in a dry pan heightens the flavour, aroma and pungency. Ground coriander seed loses flavour quickly in storage and is best ground fresh. Coriander seed is a spice in garam masala and Indian curries which often employ the ground fruits in generous amounts together with cumin, acting as a thickener.

Roasted coriander seeds, called dhana dal, are eaten as a snack. They are the main ingredient of the two south Indian dishes: sambhar and rasam.

Outside of Asia, coriander seed is used widely in the process for pickling vegetables. In Germany and South Africa …, the seeds are used while making sausages. In Russia and Central Europe, coriander seed is an occasional ingredient in rye bread (e.g. borodinsky bread), as an alternative to caraway.

The Zuni people have adapted it into their cuisine, mixing the powdered seeds ground with chile and using it as a condiment with meat, and eating leaves as a salad.

Coriander seeds are used in brewing certain styles of beer, particularly some Belgian wheat beers. The coriander seeds are used with orange peel to add a citrus character.

(#3)

Roots: Having a deeper, more intense flavour than the leaves, coriander roots are used in a variety of Asian cuisines, especially in Thai dishes such as soups or curry pastes.

One Response to “coriander/cilantro”

  1. MWarhol Says:

    Science fiction writer Michael F. Flynn, in his Spiral Arm series, writes about a population of humans in space (called Terrans) who are, for some reason, barred from returning to Earth. Because they believe that coriander can’t be grown anywhere but on Earth, it’s come to symbolize for them all that they’ve lost and might regain. They refer to it as “the true coriander”. In a humorous scene from one of the books, some Terrans are guests at a meal, and when one of them remarks the the food has a strange taste, he’s told that it must be the coriander. I don’t remember exactly how the scene was handled by the author, but I recall the image I had of them sitting around the table muttering, “This is coriander?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: