Coriander seeds are the dried berries of the coriander herb, but have little similarity in taste to fresh coriander. The seeds are almost spherical, one end being slightly pointed, the other slightly flattened. There are many longitudinal ridges. The length of the seed is 3 - 5 mm and the colour, when dried, is usually brown, but may be green or off white. The seeds can be bought whole or in powdered form. Ground coriander is a component of many different spice mixtures including garam masala and harissa, it's also good added to savoury pickles, chutneys or casseroles and can be used in cakes and other baked goodies.
This plant is a member of the Umbelliferae, or carrot family and is thus a close relative of celery, dill, cumin, caraway, chervil, and fennel among others. Fresh Coriander is better known as dhania (cilantro). The plant grows a small bunch of leaves before quickly forming a tall flowering stalk which produces numerous small light pink flowers. These little coriander flowers quickly produce the little fruits known as the spice, coriander, which actually contain several small seeds. If these coriander fruits, or seeds as they are more commonly called, are left on the plant they will quickly turn brown-grey, drop, and disperse.
Fresh tender bunches of dhania (cilantro) are very different in taste from coriander seeds. Both are reminiscent of citrus, but the pungent green herb is light and lemony while the seeds have a deeper, warmer flavour rather like orange peel. Although they are from the same plant, dhania is not interchangable with coriander seeds.
Bouquet - Seeds are sweet and aromatic when ripe. Unripe seeds are said to have an offensive smell.
Flavour - The seeds are warm, mild and sweetish. There is a citrus undertone similar to orange peel.
- Other Names
- Coentro (Portuguese); coriandolo (Italian); coriandre (French); coriandro (Spanish); dhania (Hindi); gad or kusbara (Hebrew); giligilani (Swahili); hu sui (Chinese); ketumbar (Indonesian); kişniş (Turkish); koliandro (Greek); koriander (German); koriandr (Russian); kusbarah (Arabic); ¬_mellet pak chi_ (Thai); mui (Vietnamese)
- Preparation and Storage
- Coriander seed is generally used coarsely ground or more finely powdered, depending on the texture desired. It is best bought whole as, being brittle, it is easy to mill or pound in a mortar. Ground coriander is apt to lose its flavour and aroma quickly and should be stored in an opaque airtight container. Whole seeds keep indefinitely. Their flavour may be enhanced by a light roasting before use. As coriander is mild, it is a spice to be used by the handful, rather than the pinch.
The commonest use of coriander seed is in curry powders, where it is the bulkiest constituent, often rough ground in India to give a crunchy texture.
The seeds can be likewise used in stews and soups.
Add crushed coriander seeds to the boerewors mix when making boerewors.
Toast coriander seeds in a dry pan before grinding to add to Indian, Asian, and North African dishes.
Add ground (untoasted) coriander to cakes, cookies, apple pie, fruit crumbles, and Danish pastry.
They blend well with smoked meats and game and feature in traditional English black pudding recipes and Italian mortadella sausage.
Coriander is an ingredient of garam masala, pickling spices and pudding spices and is used in cakes, breads and other baked foods.
Sugared comfits made from the seeds are a traditional sweetmeat and breath sweetener.
Coriander is a characteristic of Arab cookery, being common with lamb, kid and meat stuffings.
Taklia, a popular Arab spice mixture, is coriander and garlic crushed and fried.
Coriander with cumin is a common combination and features in falafel and in the Egyptian appetizer dukka, which consists of those spices plus sesame seeds, hazelnuts, salt and pepper, roasted and crushed.
Coriander goes well with ham and pork, especially when orange is included.
It enhances fish dishes and, with other spices, may form a delicious coating for spiced fish or chicken, rubbed into the scored flesh and grilled.
Try frying a few seeds with sausages to add an unusual flavour.
Coriander complements chilli and is included in many chilli recipes, such as harissa, the hot North African red pepper sauce.
Make a marinade for fish by combining 2 ml of coriander seed with 2 ground allspice berries, the juice of a lemon and some olive oil. Marinate the fish for 30 minutes and grill.
Add 2 ml of ground coriander seed to the batter of gingerbread or banana bread.
Category: Spices and Herbs
Sub Category: Spice
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