Coriander is a herb which is also known as Chinese parsley, dhania or cilantro. The spice is essential for most south, south-east Asian and Caribbean cuisine, but are also used extensively in other world dishes. Besides that, coriander is widely used in medicine and even as an ingredient for essential oils.
Coriander can be used in leaf (cilantro), seed or in powdered spice form. To avoid hard chewing, the seeds are usually toasted and grounded before use. They are mainly used for pickles and brines.
Cilantro (leaves) are usually used as fresh herb in soups, sauces, dips, salads and smoothies. It can also be added to dishes for decorative purposes. When purchasing cilantro, remember to check that the leaves are bright green colour with no yellow spots or evidence of wilting. Don’t forget that you can freeze the fresh leaves of herbs for future use in cooking to avoid throwing them away.
Ground coriander seeds are very popular in Indian and Mexican kitchens. The seeds are crushed or ground just before use, so the flavour and aroma does not fade away. It is a common ingredient in spice rubs, marinades, chilis, sauces, soups and curries and works well with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. The seeds contain aromatic essential oil which is used in distilling alcoholic drinks such as gin.
Coriander leaves are rich in:
-Vitamins-A, C, and K
-Magnesium and potassium
-Small quantities of niacin
-Phosphorous and zinc.