Dave's Delicious Delights

Culinary uses of coriander (cilantro)


In this article, we’ll look at the history and culinary uses of coriander.

Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is a versatile herb that has been used in cooking for centuries. It is commonly used in a variety of cuisines worldwide and is known for its distinctive flavour and aroma.

Coriander is an annual herb that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine, dating back to ancient times. It’s believed to have properties that aid digestion and alleviate inflammation.


Coriander has a rich history as a culinary herb that dates back to ancient times. It is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region. The ancient Greeks and Romans used coriander as a flavouring agent and medicinal herb.

In ancient Egypt, coriander was considered a symbol of happiness and was used in the embalming process. It was also used as a spice in cooking and as a flavouring agent in wine.

Coriander was introduced to India by the Persians and was quickly adopted as a popular spice in Indian cuisine. It was used in curries, chutneys, and pickles, and was also used to flavour sweet dishes like desserts and candies.

During the Middle Ages, coriander became a popular herb in European cuisine. It was used to flavour meat, fish, and vegetables. It was also used in the production of beer and other alcoholic beverages.

In North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, coriander is still a popular herb used in a variety of dishes. Corinander is commonly used in stews, soups, and tagines. It’s also an important ingredient in spice blends, including ras el hanout, za’tar, and baharat.

Today, coriander is a widely used herb in many cuisines around the world. It is appreciated for its unique flavour and versatility in both sweet and savoury dishes. Its use as a culinary herb continues to evolve, and it remains a staple ingredient in many kitchens around the world.

So what are the culinary uses of coriander?

Coriander can be used in various forms, including coriander leaf, seeds, and ground coriander. Each form has its own unique flavour and culinary uses.

Coriander leaf, also known as cilantro, is a popular ingredient in many cuisines worldwide, including Mexican, Thai, Indian, and Middle Eastern. It has a citrusy and slightly sweet flavour and is often used fresh as a garnish or ingredient in salads, soups, and curries.

Coriander seeds have a slightly different flavour from the leaves and are used as a spice in many cuisines. They have a warm, nutty, and slightly sweet flavour and are often used in pickling, baking, and curries. Ground coriander is made from the seeds and is commonly used as a spice in dishes like curries, stews, and marinades.

Fresh coriander

Fresh coriander

Fresh coriander, also known as cilantro, is a popular herb used in many cuisines around the world. It has a fresh and citrusy flavour with a hint of spice, making it a great addition to many dishes. Fresh coriander is commonly used in Mexican, Thai, Indian, and Vietnamese cuisines, but it can be used in many other dishes as well.

One popular way to use fresh coriander is to chop it up and add it as a garnish to dishes like tacos, soups, and salads. The fresh flavour and bright green colour can add a pop of freshness and flavour to any dish. You can also use fresh coriander as an ingredient in salsas, chutneys, and marinades.

In Indian cuisine, fresh coriander is commonly used in chutneys and curries. Blend it with other ingredients like ginger, garlic, and chillies to create a flavourful chutney, or use it as a garnish for curries.

You could also use fresh coriander to make a delicious and refreshing herb pesto. Simply blend fresh coriander, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts in a food processor and drizzle in olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency. Use it as a sauce for pasta, a spread for sandwiches, or a dip for vegetables.

When using fresh coriander, it is important to wash it thoroughly and remove any tough stems before using. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week in a plastic bag or container.

Overall, fresh coriander is a versatile and flavourful herb that can be used in many dishes. Its fresh and citrusy flavour can add a pop of flavour and colour to salads, tacos, soups, and more. You cam also use it to make delicious chutneys, pestos, and marinades.

Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds are the dried fruits of the coriander plant. They have a warm, nutty flavour that makes them a popular spice in many cuisines around the world. They are often found in Indian, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines, but also in many other style dishes.

One popular way to use coriander seeds is to grind them and use them as a spice in curries, stews, and soups. Use the ground seeds by adding them to a spice blend or curry paste. This will add a warm and nutty flavour to the dish. Or you can use them to season meat, fish, or vegetables before cooking.

Why not use coriander seeds when making pickles and chutneys? Add them to the brine or chutney mixture, to add a spicy and aromatic flavour. In addition, coriander seeds can be used to make spice blends like garam masala. Garam masala is commonly used in Indian cuisine.

You can use coriander seeds when baking breads, cakes, and cookies. Ground them and add them to the batter or dough to add a warm and nutty flavour. You can even use coriander seeds to make tea. Steep them in hot water, with other spices like cinnamon and cardamom.

When using coriander seeds, it is important to toast them first to bring out their flavour. Dry toast them in a pan or roast them in the oven before grinding them, or adding them to dishes.

Overall, coriander seeds are a versatile spice that can add a warm and nutty flavour to a variety of dishes. Use them in curries, stews, and soups, as well as pickles, chutneys, and spice blends. You can even use them in baking, and to make tea.

Ground coriander

Pestle and mortar

Ground coriander is a versatile spice that can add flavour and depth to a wide range of dishes. It is made from the dried seeds of the coriander plant and has a warm, nutty, and slightly sweet flavour. Ground coriander is commonly used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines. But, it can be added to a variety of dishes to enhance their flavour.

One popular way to use ground coriander is in curries. Add it to the curry paste or spice blend, to add a warm and nutty flavour. It will complement the other spices in the dish well. It can also be used to season meat, fish, or vegetables before they are added to the curry.

Ground coriander can also be used in marinades for meat or fish dishes. It can be combined with other spices, like cumin and paprika, to create a flavourful and aromatic spice rub. The spice rub can then be rubbed onto the meat or fish and left to marinate before cooking.

In addition to curries and marinades, ground coriander can be used in soups, stews, and roasted vegetable dishes. Add it to the dish at the beginning of the cooking process. It will infuse the flavour throughout the dish. Or use it as a finishing spice to add a final touch of flavour.

When cooking with ground coriander, it is important to use it in moderation as it has a strong flavour. It’s best to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place to preserve its flavour and aroma.

Overall, ground coriander is a versatile spice that can add a unique flavour to a variety of dishes. Its warm, nutty, and slightly sweet flavour can enhance the taste of curries, marinades, soups, and roasted vegetables.

What cuisines is coriander found in?

Coriander is used extensively in Indian cuisine and is an essential ingredient in many curries, chutneys, and spice blends. In Mexican cuisine, it is used to add flavour to salsas, guacamole, and other dishes. In Thai cuisine, it is commonly used in soups, salads, and curries.

Coriander is also used in Middle Eastern and North African cuisines, where it is added to dishes like hummus, falafel, and couscous. In European cuisine, it is used in pickling and baking, and it is also used to add flavour to sausages and meat dishes.

In conclusion, coriander is a versatile herb with a distinctive flavour and aroma. It’s used in a wide range of cuisines worldwide. Whether you prefer fresh coriander leaf, coriander seeds, or ground coriander, this herb is sure to add flavour and depth to your cooking. So go ahead and add some coriander to your next dish and enjoy its unique flavour!

Want to know more about coriander?

Hungry for more? For more information about the culinary uses of coriander, its history (and more!) head over to this Wikipedia article.

A few of my recipes using coriander

I love coriander and use it a lot in my cooking. The fresh leaves make a great garnish. Recipes using coriander you’ll find on this website include:

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