Our most popular herb, coriander (or cilantro) is a delicious additive to sauces, salad dressings and many middle eastern recipes. The leaves, seeds and root of coriander are all used in cookery and herbal remedies.
Coriander (also often knowm by its Spanish name, Cilantro) is native to southern Europe and North Africa – and there are records of its use dating back some 5,000 years. It has become important in a range of cuisines – from Mexico to India. Many middle eastern recipes require it. It’s a must in many curries, couscous and other popular dishes – and goes well with a range of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes.
A member of the carrot family, Coriander has a very distinctive flavour – sometimes described as a blend of citrus and sage. To retain the taste it’s usually best to add Coriander at a late stage in the cooking process.
Most people love the taste of Coriander, but some don’t – and a small percentage report a strong dislike. Recent research suggests there may be a genetic basis for this difference, which may also help explain why it’s so frequently used in some cuisines but absent from others.
For those of us who are Coriander fans, there are few greater pleasures than the taste of fresh Coriander. If you’re unable to buy it fresh, dried Coriander seeds are a substitute – but once you’ve tried this herb fresh you’ll appreciate the difference. Don’t forget the use the roots as well as the leaves!
Coriander has antioxidant and antibacterial properties and has long been used as a herbal remedy for anxiety, insomnia and other ailments.