Friday, May 31, 2013

Spice It UP!!! Cilantro/Coriander

I will admit--I didn't much like cilantro when I was young.  Granted, my only experience with it was when I worked my high school job at a Mexican fast food restaurant, and I had to 'chop' it with scissors.  Cilantro tasted like soap/cleaner to me (kinda like how blue cheese tastes, and I'm talking to good stuff like Maytag--GROSS), and so I tended to stay away from it.  Plus, I don't believe that my mom ever cooked with it.  Turns out, I'm not the only one that doesn't really like cilantro--many people don't (read more here).  However, the Asian and Latin American cuisines cannot get enough of cilantro; Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines cannot get enough coriander!

{Cilantro growing on my balcony}

However, with culinary school and my love of food, I have tried cilantro in many different dishes, many different times, and now, I love it!  Don't get me wrong--if someone uses too much it still tastes like soap to me.  I do love how it gives everything a fresh and clean taste when used in moderation.  The hubby tolerates it, but it's not his favorite.  Anyway--on to cilantro's history and nutritional benefits!

Cilantro can be used in its entirety--seeds, stems and leaves.  The seeds (coriander) and stems/leaves (cilantro) do not taste similar and cannot be substituted.  For the purpose of this post, we will refer to both as cilantro.  Cilantro is commonly used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian, Mexican, Latin American, Chinese, African and Southeast Asian cuisine.  Cilantro is available year-round in grocery stores in the produce section.  Be careful to smell the leaves for that pungent odor!  Cilantro can be mistaken for parsley!  Source

Cilantro can be traced back to 5,000 BC making it one of the oldest herbs used for cooking and medicinal purposes.  Cilantro is said to help with toxic metal poisoning, but the plant has to be consumed in large quantities over a long period of time.  Cilantro is said to prevent cardiovascular disease, have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties, and may improve sleep quality and may help diabetes.  Cilantro is also found to have several anti-oxidant properties.  Source and source

As with all fresh herbs, pick them vibrant and green, and store them in the fridge in a glass of water using as soon as possible.  The dried coriander seeds can be kept for up to on year in a cool place away from direct sunlight.

Here are some recipes with cilantro and/or coriander:

Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas
Chana Masala*
Chicken Vindaloo*
Cilantro Lime Chicken
Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew*
Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew)
Lentil and Chickpea Salad
Pumpkin and White Bean Stew*
Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowl
Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Sauce*
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Salad

The recipes with a * by them have a light amount of cilantro/coriander and are good starting recipes.

So how about you?  Do you like cilantro?  Do you use it on a regular basis?

Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment