But there is another one that is worth stocking in your cupboard and adding to your repertoire. This is the fresh, peppery leaves of coriander, which often shows up in Asian or Indian cuisine.
You may also know this the spice as cilantro, its more common name in Latin America. The plant, which belongs to the family of umbellifers, is in blossom from June to August and can grow up to 25 inches.
It is cultivated all over the world, although its origin is the East Mediterranean area. The essential oils within the seeds can have a positive effect on stomach troubles and digestion, but they are also a great addition to aromatic dishes.
I incorporate this spice into a lot of my dishes. I like to use the leaves as additions to salads or Vietnamese meals, whereas I often grind some seeds with my mortar and pestle together with other spices and flavor my sauces, dips or soups. It has definitely become an indispensable part of my pantry.
The small seeds are light brown, globular and about 0.1-0.2 inches in size. Coriander can be bought and used in different variations:
Fresh (sold as cilantro in the US)
- It tastes lemony with a touch of freshly ground pepper and provides dishes with a hot yet refreshing and intense aroma.
- It is sensitive to heat, so it’s best to add when your dish is ready to serve, because the flavor will fade during the cooking process.
- Keep fresh bunches in your fridge, wrapped in moist paper towels or put into a glass of water. Or what about growing it at home yourself?
- Combine with: salads, rice dishes, fish, chicken, meat, and vegetables like carrots, peas, cucumber or sweet potatoes.
What to Purchase?
The freshest leaves that you can find at the store.
- As they withstand high temperatures, they can be cooked together with other ingredients.
- Roast in a dry pan before using or grinding to strengthen the flavor.
- They are the most long-lasting part of the plant. Keep in an airtight container in a dry and dark place.
- Need a place to store your dried spices? Check out Foodal’s review of the best spice racks.
- Combine with: stews, soups, curries, chutneys, pickles, and vegetables.
What to Purchase?
Try out Spicy World’s Corriander Seeds via Amazon. With four and five star reviews, you really can’t go wrong.
Ground (normally labeled as coriander)
- This is a common way of using coriander as a part of sauces or mixed spices like curry powder, but also a nice addition for marinades or dips in grilling season.
- This version loses its aroma most rapidly, so why not buy whole seeds and grind when needed instead?
- Combine with: mixed spices (like in the Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout), marinades, baked goods like gingerbread, sauces or dips.
What to Purchase?
Try out Sanskriti Artisan Pure & Natural Spices Coriander Powder. Grown naturally on a small family farms in India, this brand doesn’t add any extra preservatives or chemicals when processing or packaging their product.
To get you cooking with coriander, I have chosen two recipes that are easy to make and that might be unknown to you.
Spanish Mojo Verde
Mojo verde is a Spanish dipping sauce that goes great with baked potatoes, toasted white bread or any kind of meat. It has a wonderful color and a fresh, spicy flavor.
You can keep it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
After consumption, cover with some olive oil and plastic wrap to seal and place it back in the fridge.
Spicy Asian Oil
This Asian-influenced oil is an amazing idea for flavoring exotic dishes. Plus, it looks great and makes a wonderful homemade present.
Refrigerate for up to week or so. If you want to keep it for longer then you should substitute the fresh ingredients for dried/dehydrated versions to prevent botulism.
Recipe photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.