Cilantro and Coriander Revisted

Last month several us of got together for lunch to celebrate my aunt Arpie’s birthday. 

In front of the Chow Thai restaurant, Boca Raton, FL
(L-R: Barbara, Arlene, Aunt Arpie, and Robyn. Our friend Alice took the photo.)

She chose Thai cuisine for her celebratory meal. Soup, garnished with cilantro, was the first course. What surprised me was that 4-out-of-the-5 of us adamantly insisted on no cilantro – either in the soup, or anywhere else on the luncheon plate!  The ladies started saying how the taste of cilantro simply turned them off.
What’s interesting to me is that the same plant produces both the leaf, which is an acquired taste, and the coriander seed which the ladies all love and use in their Dikranagerdtsi dishes.
I admit – I am a proud lover of fresh cilantro leaves! I volunteered to consume any cilantro that might have accidently made it on to their lunch plates; sadly, none did.

This incident prompted me to re-post the following cilantro-related story. In case you missed it the first time, here it is again.

Please read on…

Cilantro (top); coriander seed (bottom)

“Cilantro: Love it or Hate it “

Doug caught me watching the “Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network the other day. In one segment, Ina Gartner, the star of the show, was answering questions from her fans. A woman wrote that she absolutely hates cilantro, and wants to know what to use in place of it. Ina’s remark was that she, too, dislikes cilantro, and simply omits it when a recipe calls for it, or uses chopped parsley in its place.

Doug and I looked at each other in amazement… there is NO substitute for cilantro, and using parsley, just doesn’t cut it! (Sorry Ina.)

I feel sorry for people who don’t like – or can’t eat- cilantro, aka Chinese parsley. To me it’s absolutely addictive. The first time I ever ate it was at a Mexican restaurant. I couldn’t stop eating the salsa, but wasn’t sure why. There was an ingredient in the dish I couldn’t identify, yet kept me going back for more. Once I questioned the served about the salsa’s ingredient list, I realized the taste I was craving was the cilantro.

I wrote about cilantro and coriander about a year ago, and provided a recipe for cilantro-tahini dip. If you haven’t tried it, you should; it’s pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself. If you’re wondering why I’m writing about this topic again, it’s because I just came across an interesting article, “Cilantro:The Controversial Herb”, by Lynda Balslev about this very issue. The article contains several delicious-sounding recipes. Read it and let me know what you think.


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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous March 30, 2012 at 4:18 am

    very interesting..both the seed and the leaves are extensively used in middle eastern cooking and indian, north african ..but not north of syria ie..turkey, armenia, greece, wonder if its used in georgia?


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