Coriander is an incredibly versatile spice and believe it or not, it is the dried seed of the Coriandrum setivum plant which is part of the parsley family. These tiny tan balls pack quite a punch in anything they are added to.
Ready to be shocked again? Cilantro, that divisive herb we all love (or hate) is what is grown from these seeds. Some of you might be concerned, and it should be noted here, the two have vastly different flavor profiles, but more on that later.
The coriander plant is native to the southern European/Mediterranean region. Fun fact: the Romans would throw sweetened balls of coriander during celebrations. When they would inevitably break apart, they would burst and “rain” seeds over the crowd and the tradition of confetti started.
In terms of flavor, coriander seeds are sweet and have an aromatic citrus-like quality. By throwing them in a pan and toasting them gently before cooking with them, you draw out even more of that addictive flavor.
I like to buy it whole and then throw it into a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle for the freshest taste, but you can also purchase it as powder if you don’t want to mess with the whole seed.
Coriander is part of the delicious spice mix that makes up garam masala and is also very popular in many savory dishes such as soups, stews, and veggies, or meat-heavy plates. It plays well with things like cumin, ginger, onions, apple, and it is great in many varieties of baked goods.
Store your coriander in a cool and dark place so it remains fresher longer.
If you are cooking up a storm and realize you are out of coriander, fear not, you can swap it with caraway seeds, fennel seeds, or even cumin seeds. Should you be feeling really sassy, you can mix all three together for a more complex flavor.
Are coriander and cilantro the same thing?
These two things are from the same plant but offer wildly different flavors. Cilantro gives off a peppery, minty, and lemony flavor for most people. (Some will experience that soapy flavor.) Coriander, the seed from the cilantro plant, is slightly sweet and heavily laced with citrus flavor.
What are the benefits of coriander?
These tiny little wonders are rich in antioxidants that are known to boost the immune system and fight inflammation. Some studies suggest that they may protect brain health, heart health, and keep blood sugar levels low.
Can I use ground coriander instead of the seeds?
For every teaspoon of seeds asked for in the recipe, replace it with ¾ of a teaspoon of the ground coriander.