WHAT IS IT?
Coriander seed is both a lead and a bit player in your culinary drama As a fragrant, it’s amazing spice for everything from curries to pie spice blends, to sausages, to beer.
Coriander powder is ground coriander seed, not leaf, so all of you “I don’t eat coriander,” soap-a-phobes can relax! The seed is one of the oldest spices
Why use ground over the whole seed, or cracked?
Ground coriander is more useful in spice blends, where it’s a supporting player in your spicing, not a distinct taste. That’s especially true in dishes like curries, or desserts like pies, where large seeds floating about aren’t all that useful to that integrated taste.
That fine grind is a double-edged sword, though. Spices, ground, lose more of their potency over time. The seed holds up better.
If you use a lot of ground, then a ground spice is a nice convenience. Otherwise, I would recommend getting a coffee/spice mill, or a mortar and pestle set, and grinding your own. Controlling how ground a spice is, for the right application, matters. Like grinding coffee for different machines, the grind for a pumpkin pie spice blend is much finer than a traditional massaman curry powder grind.
Coriander seed, whole, is sweet and floral, with a spicy hint of white pepper and a bright note of citrus. It does not have the “soapy” quality that many folks complain about in the flavor of the leaves. If you’re one of those who is sensitive to the taste of the leaf, you don’t need to remove the seed from a recipe.
How coriander is prepared greatly effects its final flavor, and what ingredients it plays well with. When left whole, it is just as floral as cardamom: Full of citrus scent, light and sweet. Coriander’s flavor deepens the longer it cooks, but its unique florals degrade into the background.
Coriander is native to Iran, but it was traded, since ancient times, grows wild well anywhere, and can be found around the world today. It is widely used in cuisines globally. It remains a staple of Asian cultural foods, and, as “cilantro,” of foods in the Americas.
- Popular flavorant for pie spices;
- Soups and stews;
- A fragrant in chai tea;
- A great flavor in chutney;
- A fragrant role player in roasted pork, lamb, and chicken.
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS:
- A pinch, along with a drop of orange extract, in vanilla ice cream;
- Add to a light spice blend with salt and pepper for a fragrant finish to a mojo-marinated pork loin;
- Toss a bit in, with a small bit of finely chopped preserved lemon, salt, and fennel pollen on a pasta side;
- A sprinkle over steamed sweet potatoes is a fragrant treat.
Coriander is one of the world’s oldest herbs. The seeds, an ancient spice. The plant is native to Persia (modern day Iran). Its active trade, and ability to grow wild with ease almost anywhere, made it a staple of seasonings in Ancient Greece, Egypt, and a popular, portable flavor that followed the Spanish, and the Portuguese, around the world. It remains staggeringly popular in both Asian, and Latin American, cuisine.
- Chinese Parsley
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