These days you will probably see a lot of recipes that use Cilantro – but what is it? Cilantro is a herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavour. Cilantro is the name given to the leaves from the first stage of the plant’s life cycle. After the plant flowers and develops seeds, the seeds are known as Coriander.
Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavours are very different and cannot be substituted for each other.
All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the most commonly used in cooking. Coriander is commonly used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian, Mexican, Latin American, Chinese, African and Southeast Asian cuisine.
- As Cilantro is easily confused with flat-leaf parsley in appearance, be sure to sniff carefully.
- Look for a bunch with unwilted leaves that are tender, aromatic, and very green. If it has no aroma, it will have no flavour.
- Avoid wilted bunches with yellowing leaves. Fresh Cilantro does not keep well, and the flavour of dried cilantro bears no comparison with the fresh.
- Store in refrigerator with cut ends in a jar of water and leaves loosely covered with a plastic bag for several days. Change water every 2 days. Or store in a plastic bag for a week.
- Wash and pat dry before using.
- Cilantro goes well with – avocado, chicken, fish, ice cream, lamb, lentils, mayonnaise, peppers, pork, rice, salads, salsas, shellfish and tomatoes.