Coriander

Coriander

Cilantro

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

In talking about coriander, a distinction must first be made between the green leaf and the ripe seed, as their taste and uses are quite different.

Fresh coriander can be recognised by its refreshing smell. The lower leaves are fan-like, the upper leaves are feathery, and it is often sold with the roots still attached. In Spain and Mexico it is called cilantro, in India dhania, and around the world, its odour and taste are much treasured.

Fresh coriander adds a great deal to many curries and, when ground with coconut, green chilli, salt, a squeeze of lemon and sometimes a little yoghurt, it is the basis for a delicious and very common Indian chutney. The Chinese sprinkle it over fish and chicken dishes, and it also adds distinction to a Bloody Mary. Use the leaves only – no coarse stems – and do not chop.

Coriander seeds taste sweet, aromatic and vaguely like orange peel. In India coriander seeds are roasted before grinding to bring out a more currylike flavour. In France the seeds are used to flavour a delicious mushroom dish and are almost always used in dishes cooked à la Grecque.

Coriander seeds are also used in the spicing of some sausages. Roughly powdered, they are the flavouring for roast pork, lamb or kid or spicy meat dishes of many kinds from North Africa and Lebanon, and they are a most important spice in Arab cooking. Use ground coriander seeds in cakes, biscuits and chutneys.

You can easily germinate coriander seeds and grow your own green coriander. Sow the seeds in rich soil and full sun. Sow thinly where they are to mature and thin them out as they grow, removing each plant complete with root. In a warm climate, they mature in 4–6 weeks.

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