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Leaves and seeds with a distinctive aroma
Coriander is a particularly popular ingredient in Asian cuisine. Its delicious green leaves and small, round seeds have been around for thousands of years.
Those who are not so familiar with the green herb often mistake it with parsley. In fact, the two herbs look so similar that coriander is also known as Chinese parsley. However, the two taste very different: coriander leaves have a light scent of pepper and lemon, and a somewhat soapy taste for some people more so than others. There tends to be quite a divided opinion surrounding coriander, but those who like it, really love it.
The coriander seeds are perhaps more well-known and more commonly used in European cuisine – especially in their dried and ground form. They often make an appearance in recipes for baked goods and sausages. The seeds have a different aroma to the leaves: they are sweeter and milder with a delicate orange nuance. What the seeds and leaves both have in common is the fact that they should be used sparingly so that their intense aroma doesn’t take over.
|Calories||22 kcal per 100g (fresh leaves); 341 kcal per 100g (seeds)|
|Nutrients||0.9g carbohydrate, 2.8g fibre, 0.5g fat, 2.1g protein per 100g (fresh leaves); 13.1g carbohydrate, 41.9g fibre, 17.8g fat, 12.4g protein per 100g (seeds)|
|Storage||store plant in a pot on the windowsill; chopped in the fridge; seeds in a dry, dark place|
|Shelf life||coriander leaves can last a few weeks; chopped last a few days; seeds keep for a few years when stored correctly|
Coriander is one of the oldest known herbs; it is even mentioned in the Old Testament and some coriander seeds were supposedly found in the grave of Tutankhamun. Today, coriander is cultivated across the world, but the plant originated in the eastern Mediterranean region. It can grow up to 60 centimetres high and has white-red flowers. The seeds are round and approx. 5 millimetres thick.
If you mostly cook with the green leaves, it is best to buy the plant in the pot. This way, it will keep longer and will even grow back if cared for properly. The seeds can be bought whole or ground. If buying in large quantities, the best idea is to buy the seeds whole and grind them up as and when you need them – this is the best way to retain the aroma.
Coriander combines well with mint and cumin and is ideal seasoning for fish, meat and vegetables. The seeds are a common ingredient in many curries and the leaves are a wonderful topping for Asian noodle dishes, fresh salads, and even a great addition to green smoothies.
The seeds should be ground fresh shortly before being cooked with a pestle and mortar. The aroma that the seeds release is particularly strong when they are lightly toasted in a pan without any oil. Both the leaves and the stems can be consumed: first wash them under running water, dry them carefully by shaking, and then chop them finely. If you’re only looking to use the leaves, simply pick them off. Always add the green shortly before the dish is ready, or sprinkle it on top when your meal is already plated up as garnish.
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