Coriander is one of the world’s oldest and most commonly used herbs.
It is green, leafy and strong-smelling with a fresh, citrus taste that makes it an invaluable garnish and flavour enhancer. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems.
The entire plant is edible. The leaves, stalks and roots are edible, as are the berries, which are dried and called coriander seeds.
Coriander is known as cilantro in North America.
Coriander leaves are best added to dishes just before serving, as the cooking process will boil off the essential oils which provide the flavour. The stalks can be added late in the cooking process, and are usually very finely chopped. The roots are the most flavourful for cooking purposes, and can be added early in the process to provide a citrus-like tang.
These stalks are full of flavour and juiciness and can be used in variety of dishes to make sauces, dips and are often added to raita. Make sure not to select very thick stalks, as they can taste slightly bitter.
Look for coriander leaves that have firm, unwilted leaves, are vividly deep green in color with no signs of yellowing or browning. Leaves that are smaller in size will be more tender and have a milder flavour. A bunch of fresh coriander will have a distinctive fresh and citrus smell.
The leaves spoil quickly when removed from the plant, and lose their aroma and flavour when dried or frozen.
Fresh coriander is available year-round in most supermarkets.