Cilantro a.k.a Coriander- The Love It or Hate It Herb
Fresh Coriander Leaves (Cilantro): Native to southern Asia, fresh coriander leaves, commonly known as cilantro and Chinese parsley, is used as an important garnish to Asian salads and soups. Cilantro has a subtle citrusy flavor and virtually no scent. This is one of those ingredients that you don’t particularly notice when it’s part of the dish but is very noticeable in its absence. Easily found in both Western and Asian markets, good cilantro should have vibrant green leaves and unblemished thin stems. Any yellowing or browning signals old leaves and should be avoided. Cilantro should be washed after being bought and allowed to air-dry before a final pat down with paper towels or a kitchen towel to ensure as little moisture remains as possible. Keep them in an air-tight container or ziplock bag in the refrigerator and use them as soon as possible. If stored properly without moisture, cilantro will keep for about a week. With too much moisture, the leaves will go bad very quickly.
Ground Coriander: A vital ingredient in many stews and soups in Asian cooking, ground coriander (ground from coriander seeds) lends a deeper and nuttier flavor than its fresh counterpart. Not a spice with a particularly overwhelming fragrance or taste, it’s easy to overlook its use until you notice that something isn’t quite right in a dish even though you can’t pinpoint what’s missing. Ground coriander is one of those subtle ingredients that serve as a key accent in the balance of complex flavors without screaming its presence aloud. Commonly sold in both Western and Asian markets in either small bottles or plastic pouches, ground coriander should be stored in a cool, dry area. This version of coriander is known to aid in digestion, stimulates low appetite, has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and serves as a diuretic.