Monday, 28 January 2008

Did you know... Coriander or Cilantro?

I had a delivery on Friday... 7 shiny new food-related books, ordered from The Book People January Sales! This, of course, is an occasion for great excitement - all these ideas and recipes waiting to be divulged. The way I use cook books is seldom to follow a recipe step by step - I much prefer to read them, be it on the bus, in bed, curled up on the sofa or even occasionally in the bath... I then let the ideas and titbits wash around in my head until I land on menus and recipes that give me that warm fuzzy feeling!

The one I chose to take to work to me today (I have a meeting in London, which gives me about 3 hours travel time!) is The Curry Companion by Sonja Patel. It's lovely - not so much a cook book as a book about food, with history, interestingly random facts and trivia thrown in with some recipes.

I bought a cook book on a visit to the States quite a few years ago - and was confused by one of the ingredients: cilantro. This was before I had Internet easy access, and it took me quite a bit of digging - and a phone call to a Canadian relative - to discover that cilantro was actually what us Brits refer to as coriander!

Now - about 15 years on, I have found out the true relationship between coriander and cilantro. Apparently coriander 'officially' only refers to the seed of the plant - the spice; whereas cilantro refers to the leafy stems - the herb! Ok, so perhaps not the most groundbreaking discovery - but a new bit of knowledge I was happy to have!


Coriander seeds!

Of course, it could well be that this is common knowledge - and just something I have missed all those years... but at least I know now!

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A Scientist in the Kitchen said...

Hey thanks for the info, I am always confused about these two terms.