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Also known as
Dhania, dhana, kothmir, cilantro, Chinese parsley
Coriander is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is also known as cilantro, particularly in the America. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are commonly used in cooking. The leaves have a different taste from the seeds, with citrus overtones. Some perceive an unpleasant "soapy" taste or a rank smell and avoid the leaves.
How to select
Coriander leaves should be washed very well since the leaves and stems tend to collect sand and soil. Before washing, trim off the roots and separate the leaves. Put the washed leaves on a chopping board and chop them in small 1-2 inch sized pieces.
Look for coriander leaves that have firm, unwilted leaves, are vividly deep green in color with no signs of yellowing or browning. Leaves that are smaller in size will be more tender and have a milder flavour.Culinary Uses
· The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many South Asian foods (particularly chutneys), in Chinese dishes and in Mexican salsas and guacamole.
· In Mexico and the South western U.S. it is used in everything from salsas and salads to burritos or meat dishes
· Chopped coriander leaves are a garnish on cooked dishes such as dal and curries. As heat diminishes their flavor quickly, coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish right before serving.
· In Indian and Central Asian recipes, coriander leaves are used in large amounts in gravies and as green curry paste.
· Coriander's leaves is used as seasoning in curries, salads and soup and its dried ripe spherical seeds mostly in powder form is slightly roasted and used as curry powder in dishes, to flavour cakes, cookies, alcoholic beverages such as gin etc How to store
Coriander (cilantro) can normally be found fresh in your local grocery store and is available year-round. The leaves spoil quickly when removed from the plant, and lose their aroma when dried or frozen .Before you store coriander it should be rinsed and left moist (not wet) and place in a plastic bag. The coriander may be stored for up to 1 week. The most easy and convenient way of storing coriander leaves is pluck the leaves and tender stems and store them in an airtight container. As and when you need, clean them in water and use them. Health Benefits
· Coriander is considered an aid to the digestive system. It is an appetite stimulant and aids in the secretion of gastric juices.
· A poultice of Coriander seed can be applied externally to relieve painful joints and rheumatism.
The essential oils of the coriander leaves contain antibacterial properties and can be used as a fungicide. Coriander seeds are considered to have cholesterol-lowering properties.
· Coriander has pain-relieving properties and is useful for headaches, muscle pain, stiffness and arthritis. Coriander is useful as a tea, because of its helpful effects on the digestive tract, and is good for increasing appetite, and relieving nausea, diarrhea, flatulence and indigestion. It is reputed to enhance circulation and relieve fluid retention.