Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Question for Mom

Clockwise from left: Coriander Seeds, Cilantro, Ground Coriander
What’s the difference between coriander and cilantro?--Steve D.
Coriander is the name of the plant.  The leaves, commonly known either as fresh coriander or cilantro (the Spanish word for coriander), are sold in bunches like parsley.  Cilantro is a popular ingredient in Mexican and Indian recipes. 

The coriander plant’s small round seeds are called coriander.  The seeds can be used whole or ground up and sold as a powder.  The powder tastes considerably different from the leaves, which have a lemony flavor. 

I was surprised to discover that the leaves lose a lot of their strong flavor when cooked. I know this because I decided to try a legume noodle soup recipe developed by Israeli/British chef Yotam Ottolenghi and published in The Guardian that calls for 2 cups of chopped cilantro. That’s a lot of cilantro.  But the soup, which also features chick peas, lima beans, spinach and lots of onions and garlic, is mellow and well worth the considerable effort it takes to make. 

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