Cilantro Stands Out

I can never hide the fact that I’ve just brought cilantro into my kitchen. Its aroma, as well as its taste, is unmistakable.

I can never hide the fact that I’ve just brought cilantro into my kitchen. Its aroma, as well as its taste, is unmistakable. Three of my children are hostile to cilantro and protest its presence. But the rest of the family turns a deaf ear to their complaints and continues to plan and savor unforgettable cilantro dishes.

Cilantro is what makes salsa so appetizing and East Indian and Malaysian curry sauces so titillating. Guacamole and mixed green salads become more tempting with just a trace of cilantro. Cilantro resembles flat leaf parsley because it belongs to the same family. It is the leaves of the Coriandrum sativum that are referred to as cilantro. The seeds of the plant are called coriander and are used as a spice. But the flavor of cilantro is very different from coriander seed so don’t think they are interchangeable.

In any other language or cuisine, cilantro elicits either howls or hoorahs. Those who are fond of it will not hesitate to learn some other names such as Chinese parsley, yuan sui, yim sai, yun tsai, Joh tsu, koendoro , kinchai, and rao mui. Whether you are in Spain, the Caribbean, the Middle East, India, or anywhere in the Orient – you will find cilantro’s outstanding flavor complementing many dishes- including highly spiced foods. Cilantro adds freshness and zing to all of them! If you’re using cilantro for the first time- be warned that it has a flavor unlike any other. Just a little will stand out so go easy. I can only guarantee that you can’t ignore its strong, distinctive flavor.

For best results, use fresh cilantro. You can keep it in a glass of water as you would a bunch of flowers. Cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate away from ripening fruits or vegetables. Use them as soon as possible. If you want to store them longer, try freezing in a zip-lock bag. Dried cilantro loses its flavor. Just before using cilantro, wash and pat dry both leaves and stems with paper towels. Cilantro goes well with corn, peas, and tomatoes. The leaves can be used whole as a garnish or minced in a sauce. Cilantro is a good source of Vitamin C and contains no fat or cholesterol.

Bean lovers will be relieved to know that cilantro combats flatulence. It prevents spasms and aids digestion. Cilantro is an antioxidant and also prevents some infections. While we’re at it, here are a few more interesting details. Two years ago, Dr. Yoshiaki Omura found that the consumption of cilantro can hasten the excretion of heavy metals such as mercury, lead and aluminum from the body. Arab women chew cilantro to ease labor pains. Cilantro may have anti-inflammatory powers but is regarded as an aphrodisiac in many cultures. When taken in large quantities, it acts as a narcotic.

“For best results, use fresh cilantro. You can keep it in a glass of water as you would a bunch of flowers. Cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate away from ripening fruits or vegetables”

What you have in your mind?