Coriander is a spice produced from the round, tan-colored seeds of the coriander plant (Coriandrum sativum), which is a member of the parsley family. The word coriander can be used to describe the entire plant: leaves, stems, seeds, and all. It is known to be grown across Asia, Europe and American continents. Not just the Indian kitchen but middle eastern, asian and latin american kitchen is known to use it heavily. Those who enjoy it say it has a refreshing, lemony or lime-like flavor, while those who dislike it have a strong aversion to its taste and smell, characterizing it as soapy or rotten
Recently during my visit to the Disgusting Food Museum in Malmo, Sweden, I happen to learn that coriander is one such spice that people could have allergies to. An allergy to coriander is rare but does happen, and you may have a higher likelihood of developing an allergy to it if you are allergic to birch pollen. It can also cause a type of allergy known as oral allergy syndrome, which is also called food-pollen allergy. It is caused by cross-reactivity between certain plant pollen proteins and some raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices. Strange isn’t it?
The leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves or dhaniya in Hindi. It is popularly used to make chutneys and to garnish curries. According to Ayurveda, addition of fresh leaves diminishes the heat produced by other fresh spices, making it easy for the body to digest the food. In Thai cuisine, even the roots are used for making pastes and soups.
The dry fruits are known as coriander seeds. The word “coriander” in food preparation may refer solely to these seeds (as a spice), rather than to the plant. The seeds have a lemony citrus flavour. It is described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavoured. Using whole seed as a spice in Indian kitchen is rare, but rather the seeds are slightly toasted in a pan and then ground into a powder and then used in combination with other spices. The seeds is one of the main component in garam masala.
Coriander is known to help with digestion, keep a check on cholesterol, help with good hair and skin. Don’t hesitate using this amazing spice.
Recipe using Coriander Leaves – Green Chutney