Newest Review: ... else, a little bit like citrus, but mixed with something far more distinctive perhaps aniseed. Coriander is extremely good for you, it co... more
A Harmonious Herb
Member Name: mikeb2102
Advantages: Adds a new dimension to Asian dishes
As I like cooking my own homemade curries and stir-frys, there's a few of ingredients my kitchen can't do without; garlic, chillies, onions and coriander. These are the main ingredients I use in the majority of the dishes I make. I like using coriander because it adds a totally different dimension to the dishes I cook, it is a herb that is very strong in flavour, yet when mixed with other herbs it doesn't overpower them, it lets them join in harmony. It is kind of saying "Come on Mr Chilli, you are more than welcome to join me in this concoction, we will get on great together", and they do, I know that's a bit of a silly way to describe it, but that in lay-mans terms is what is really happening.
== What is it? ==
Coriander is a herb common to Southern Europe, Africa and Asia. The leaves look similar to parsley leaves and is sometimes called Chinese Parsley. It is hard to describe the smell of coriander, it has a really strong smell unlike anything else, a little bit like citrus, but mixed with something far more distinctive perhaps aniseed. Coriander is extremely good for you, it contains antioxidants, similar to spinach e.g. Protein, Zinc, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium etc. Coriander leaves can also help against Salmonella, because of their antibacterial properties.
== Growing ==
Coriander is really easy to grown, and doesn't really need that much TLC, just a little water every couple of days and some sunlight is all that is needed. I have just purchased a little kit for my daughter to grow her own coriander and she loves it, the plants are starting to sprout those distinctive flat leaves and she's only been growing it for a couple of weeks. I am not sure how long it will take to grow fully, but I think at the rate it is growing, I should have some nice coriander to add to my dishes in around another six weeks time. You don't have to grow the plants indoors, you can grow them outside too, although it is probably best to wait until around March before planting them outside. Once this plant really starts to grown, it will grow in abundance, you just have to wait a few weeks until it gets to that stage, but it is worth the wait.
== Uses ==
Coriander's main use is in cooking of course, especially Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. I mainly use the leaves in a marinade with my chicken, when cooking a curry or a stir-fry. The seeds can also be ground down into a powder and put in dishes on their own, or mixed with other herbs and spices to form a super spice such as Garam Masala, also nice in curries. You don't have to cook the leaves of course, you can eat them raw in salads too, and it really does add a nice distinctive flavour to them. Researching a little about coriander for the purpose of this review, I found that the roots of the plant are also edible in curries, soups and pastes, although I have never tried them myself.
== Price ==
You can buy these in potted form or as a bag of herbs in most supermarkets and the price ranges from about 0.80 pence - about £1.50. Or you can buy a nice little pot in Homebase, under their 'grow your own' range, which has seeds and compost all ready to be planted for around £1.00. I think there is more satisfaction to be had growing the coriander from seed.
== Verdict ==
I love this herb, it has a really strong distinct flavour, and as I cook mainly stir-frys and curry dishes, I use a lot of this. As I have just started growing my own vegetables and herbs, I have encouraged my three year old daughter to do the same, so I started her out with her own coriander plant, which is coming along really nicely on my kitchen windowsill. When I'm cooking it in stir-frys and curries, I usually just roughly chop it, stalks and leaves and it fries off in next to no time and adds a really nice flavour.
Summary: A nice fragrant herb that adds a nice flavour to curries and most asian dishes