There are many herbs and spices on this earth. While all may prove tasty in their own right, one ingredient has certainly left its mark on kitchens all over. This spice is so popular, even its name has been localized in innumerable areas in the world. Also known as Chinese parsley or coriander, cilantro is indeed one ingredient most kitchens can not do without.
This delicate spice is produced from the plant called Coriandrum Sativum. This annual herb of the parsley family possesses a very unique green, waxy flavor. Once dried, this marvel herb is then used as a lucrative ingredient in most dishes all over the world. It is used in almost every other salad in the world. It is also utilized for a number of Asian Mexican, Indian, Caribbean and North African delicacies.
Scientists have proven that this plant is one of the earliest inhabitants of North America. Once discovered, it took no time before this wonder herb started taking over the taste buds of people from all over. It has also been mentioned in Ancient books from the Middle East. A medical Papyrus from Thebes revealed that this plant has actually been grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. As of today though, the Mediterranean areas of Europe is this herbs’ new home.
Most of the time, cilantro is dried to perfection. It is noticeable that the flavor of this herb is intensified once all liquids have seeped out of it. The drying process is applied to all parts of the plant until it reaches the culinary standards of most chefs. The most popular of the dried parts are the seeds, seconded by the leaves and then followed by the roots and stems respectively.
Although dependent on other ingredients, cilantro is still irrevocably tasty. It is the undisputed the leafy aromatic herb of choice. Not popular for its leaves alone, even other parts of this wonder herb are widely used all over the world. Thai chefs for example value this exquisite spice right down to the roots. Its chopped or minced leaves can be served on soups and other hot food as garnish. It is even tossed raw into salads. However, it is never cooked too much since this spoils the natural flavor of the herb. Overall, the main function of cilantro is to enhance the flavor of the food through its subtle sweetness. Now, you can taste cilantro glazed foods everywhere you look. From salsas, salads, dips, beans, soups and chutneys… sky has definitely become the limit for the use of these fantastic plants’ leaves.
The cilantro root on the other hand exudes a different kind of taste. The deep earthy flavor it possesses actually proves useful in many dishes. This very characteristic is unique to the cilantro. In Thailand, the roots are pounded with garlic and white peppercorns to create an outstanding seasoning mix.
This country is perhaps, if not truly, one of the biggest patrons of cilantro. One proof is the extent of cilantro usage. The Americans usually use the seeds and leaves alone. Europeans on the other hand also use some of the stems. Other Asians use the roots. However, the Thai do not just stop at using the roots. They also make use of the rootlets or root hairs. In fact, you can even buy these tiny yet tasty parts of cilantro in many local stores there. According to the Thai people, the fame of this ingredient can be attributed to its distinct yet very mixable taste.
Thai food, like Italian food is known for its rich flavors. A glimpse of their dishes will automatically suggest indulgence to innumerable spices which come from both within and outside their respective nations. However, most of these spices may seem too strong for the food to all accommodate. Some of the flavors need to be softened to blend in perfection. That is exactly what every part of cilantro does. It uses its naturally sweet earthiness to make the dishes coherent. As such, every flavor is savored in harmony once a certain amount of cilantro is added.
Although the cilantro root has proven its worth to those who understand the complexity of its flavor, many are still wasted due to the ignorance of others. Local herb dealers for example cut off the roots to make the cilantro even more presentable when placed in their stalls. As such, many chefs who rely on cilantro grow their own. It is then cut off, placed in Ziploc bags and then frozen. This will conserve the earthy taste of the root while not yet in use.
There are also some who do not like the taste of this famous herb. Some claim that it has the tendency to make dishes taste like soap. Sadly, this claim is not completely baseless. Too much cooked cilantro can actually do that. As such, only prudently measured portions of this wonderful herb must be used to avoid ruining the dishes.
Aside from being a popular ingredient to the most exquisite dishes in the planet, cilantro is also used as a natural medicine. The Ancient Chinese and even the Babylonians are the first to recognize this plant’s medical properties. Even today, the use of cilantro is widely encouraged due to its scientifically proven healing properties. In rural areas, this herb is often crushed and made into pastes which can be taken as medicine. Some medical institutions on the other hand also utilize cilantro in the production of some of their products. This tasty and miraculous herb helps battle the body’s harmful toxins, especially in the digestive track. As such, certain diseases such as colon cancer and other illnesses caused by poor digestion are prevented.
This is about are all you need to know about cilantro. What are you waiting for? Go buy some now. This will certainly add flair to your food, as well as take care of your bodies. With cilantro, culinary and medical bliss can be achieved… from root to tip! This is the promise cilantro always carries.