The Citrusy Seeds of the Cilantro

There is no doubt fresh cilantro is one of the main ingredients in our Hispanic kitchen. Regardless of the way you have cooked it, I am sure its aroma has ‘owned’ your dinner table every single time. Curiously, cilantro or coriander seeds are not commonly used by us when compared to the Indian, Chinese, or Thai cuisine. So, in this article, I decided to convince you to use coriander seeds because, after all, they also deserve a role in our recipes.

Coriander seeds have a similar taste to fresh cilantro, but more intense. They are aromatic but have a citrus essence mixed with salvia strong enough to transform any recipe. I call them cilantro’s little oranges. Cilantro seeds are cheap; if stored right, they can stay fresh up to a year and will add more flavor to your dishes.

These seeds can be found whole or grounded in the herb and spices aisle of your favorite market. I prefer the whole seeds and, when cooking, I toast them in a pan for one or two minutes before crushing them in a mortar or pilón. Doing it this way is like ‘waking up’ their aroma instantly, which will give a fresher flavor to your food.

Cilantro seeds are great in recipes that have lentils, coconut milk, tomato, serrano chile, jalapeño, ají panca, honey, rosemary, beets, potatoes, soups, moles, stews, among other ingredients and recipes. Did you know these seeds are one of the main ingredients in curry powder seasoning? They are so diverse that, nowadays, are used in the elaboration of many artisan beers to add a more aromatic and citrus taste to them.

Looking for a new way to season your proteins? Add cilantro seeds to your salt and pepper seasoning to marinate your pork, turkey, shrimp, or even a simple chicken recipe just the way our Peruvian friends do. The intense aroma of the seeds will make a difference in every bite.

Lastly, cilantro is not only big in flavor but also has other properties. In Europe, it is known as the “antidiabetic” plant. It is consumed to control sugar levels in the body, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammations.

photo taken from commons.wikimedia.org

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