Coriander is a herb used in various cuisines worldwide. Scientifically known as ‘Coriandrum Sativum’ it is mainly used for garnishing dishes. It imparts an earthy taste compared to other herbs like sage and parsley.
What are the different terms for Coriander?
In the UK and Australia, the term coriander is referred to the seeds & the whole plant. Cilantro is a Spanish term for the leaves of the plant, and in many European countries, this term is used for coriander. In the United States and Latin America, the word cilantro refers to the leaves of the plant whilst coriander refers to the seeds.
Cilantro is a staple in Mexican and Latin cuisines which is extremely popular in the United States. There are many other names in different countries used for coriander. For example, Ngo in Vietnam and Wansoy in the Philippines.
Are they the same? Yes, coriander and cilantro are the same plants. The term “cilantro” refers to the leaf of the young coriander plant. Not only leaves but the whole coriander plant is useful in cooking. The term coriander is generally referred to the seeds of the plant while the term cilantro for the leaf.
Confusing isn’t it?
Availability of Coriander
Coriander was one of the first herbs used in cuisines in ancient history from about 1500 BC. Nowadays, coriander is generally available in most countries. However, in some countries like Japan, it is hard to find coriander as it is not used in their cooking. Also, in countries such as Greenland where the climate is at freezing, coriander is rarely found.
How is Coriander used?
Roasted coriander seeds add an aromatic flavour in the preparation of stocks, soups, braising liquid, and pickling brine. The powdered coriander seeds give a concentrated and citrusy burst of flavour. The stems of the plant are used to impart a crunchy texture to soups, salads, stocks, etc.
Health Benefits of Coriander
Coriander is often referred to as a superfood due to the presence of vitamins and minerals providing several health benefits. It is a great detoxifying agent. Coriander seeds have sedative effects used in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. The powdered coriander seeds are known to help treat depression and other psychological and emotional disorders. The coriander leaves extract can treat allergies and skin irritations.
Coriander fruit can also be infused in hot water for treating abdominal pains, bacterial and fungal infections and flatulence.
Some even say Coriander is effective in regulating insulin levels, reducing cholesterol, preventing water retention, etc.
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