There is a split camp when the topic of coriander comes up. People either rave about it and can’t get enough… or they hate it.
I am one of the latter. I spent years watching TV chefs carry on about it like it was the second coming of bloody Christ, this trendy herb that was used in everything from salsas to stir-fries.
And then I tried it.
Then I gagged and spat. A lot. The end.
For those of you who are coriander virgins- I suggest you try it, if only the once. Then send me emails about how shitty it is so I can feel all heroic about it.
Coriander can also be known as cilantro, Chinese parsley or even Greek parsley. You can use every single part of the plant in your cooking, depending on how brave you want to be- so that mean roots, leaves, seeds and stems. Although it can be easily mistaken for flat-leaf parsley as the two herbs share similar physical characteristics, the smell will bring you back to earth. There is NO forgetting that…err aroma? It’s a lemony-citrus type smell with an soggy towel undertone. If that’s your kind of thing.
If you’ve decided to stick it to me and actually buy some coriander, look for leaves that are nice and green with firm, crisp stems and roots.
Now what the fricken hell can I use this stuff in? I hear you ask. Well. Coriander is predominately used in Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, North African, Mexican and Latin American grub.
It’s best added to dishes just before serving as heat can reduce its potency (although this could be a good thing). It is said to be great with chilli, carrot, basil, mint, chicken, beef, avocado, coconut, couscous, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, fish, prawns, scallops and mussels. I’ll take their word for it.
To store, follow these instructions from http://www.taste.com.au
Wash roots, stems and leaves thoroughly in cold water to remove any grit or dirt. Stand upright in a glass containing 1-2cm water, cover loosely with a plastic bag and secure with an elastic band. Keep in the fridge for up to five days. Alternatively, wrap in damp paper towel and store in a sealed plastic bag or an airtight container in the fridge.
Or save yourself the drama and throw it out. Next time don’t try and be fancy and get yourself some Italian flat-leaf parsley instead. That’ll teach you.
Australian Good Taste – February 2006 , Page 15