People either love or hate cilantro, also known as coriander or Chinese parsley. This like or dislike of the taste and smell is likely genetic. Luckily I love it and use it regularly.
I use it liberally in salads, in sauces, in soups. . . I add it to lightly pickled vegetables, I stir it into fried rice or cold noodles salads. It’s wonderful with beans and eggs.
The roots and stems are also edible and very much worth using. The roots are commonly used particularly in curry pastes and soups. The flavor of the root is similar but a bit deeper and more intense than the leaves. The stems are very tender, not at all fibrous. By all means use the stems alongside the leaves, just chop them a little finer.
Cilantro is a mainstay in many cuisines, from Mexican to Iranian to Indian to Thai and Vietnamese, where it is often used almost like a vegetable or salad green–in great quantity!
How best to store and extend the shelf life of cilantro is a frequent topic in my cooking classes. Really, if you’re getting it in your CSA or a the farmers’ market, chances are it will keep well for a week in plastic in the refrigerator. There are many theories on how best to keep it but I simply just bag and refrigeratoe or if it’s looking dreary I wash it and roll it in a cotton dish towel or paper toweland refrigerate that in a plastic bag. And if you have a bunch that’s about to go bad, make the cilantro yogurt sauce (below) and it will enliven any simple grain, vegetable or meat or fish dish. Or make this Green Sauce with cilantro, basil and mint.
Cilantro has the potential to lower blood sugar and is a powerful antioxidant.
Ingredients that complement cilantro:
- Lemon, lime, orange juice and zest
- Green onions and onions of any kind
- Coriander seeds (the seeds of the same plant)
- Cumin, turmeric, mustard seeds
- Soy sauce, fish sauce
- Rice vinegar
- Rice and rice noodles
- Beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Beef, lamb, pork, chicken
- Shrimp and all manner of seafood
Dishes that include cilantro: