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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cilantro and Coriander come from the Same Plant but....did you know

Many people think that Cilantro and Coriander are the same thing but there is a slight difference. They both come from the same plant but the leaves are called Cilantro and the dried seeds are known as Coriander. But taken as a popular herb or spice, they are both popular in many parts of the world.
Cilantro is the Leaves
Coriander is the Seed
Traditionally Cilantro is used in many dishes such as Mexican salsa and guacamole. Salsa wouldn't be salsa with out Cilantro. I don't think I have ever had a good Salsa that did not have that familiar taste of Cilantro. I really Prefer a Mango Cilantro Salsa.
Cilantro also complements seafood, especially a more oily fish like salmon or tuna. With lighter white fish, I find that the Cilantro has a tendency to overwhelm the fish a bit. Cilantro is also popular with certain chicken dishes with Caribbean jerk chicken coming to mind.
Cilantro is not limited to the Latinos. The Greeks do a spaghetti sauce with Cilantro and spinach which is wonderful, especially when finished off with a few Ouzo's around 2am when the Greek restaurants are just getting a full head of steam.
In Asia and the Far-East, Cilantro is found in chutneys and in salads. My favorite from this grouping would be Tabbouleh which is a Lebanese/Turkish salad which includes lemon juice, olive oil and spring onions.
I feel it is best to use only fresh Cilantro! It is inexpensive and can be found in most supermarkets that carry fresh herbs. 
Coriander, which is the seeds of the plant, are used in the same types of dishes as Cilantro but Coriander does have one unique use. It is one of the ingredients in a German beer known as Witbier (white beer). The beer is popular in the summer time in Germany and lately some fruit flavored variations have sprung up in Belgium and Holland
Since Coriander comes from the dried seeds, it has a shelf life and sells as a prepared bottled spice. This makes Coriander the choice when you are looking for that particular flavor in a soup or a casserole that is going to be cooked.

For Recipes using Cilantro try my Cilantro-Lime Garlic Chicken with Avocado Salsa
For Recipes using Coriander try my Mrs Fields Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

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