by Jane Lawson
related to ajowan, aniseed, caraway, cumin
Coriander seed is the dried ripe fruit from the same plant that gives us the fresh herb cilantro. The small spherical seeds are generally available in two varieties, the most common being light-brown in color, which is warm and aromatic in flavor with undertones of citrus and sage. The other is the Indian, or green, variety which is much greener in color and fresher in taste.
Although native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, coriander has been known to India and China for thousands of years. It is said to have been used as a spice in Egypt since ancient times and legend has it that it was introduced to Britain via the Roman regions, who used it to flavor their bread. While both the seed and the leaf were widely used in Medieval Europe, allegedly to mask the flavor of rotten meat, the flavor of the fresh herb generally won few friends-a centuries-long trend which is rapidly changing thanks to the rise in popularity of Asian food.Apart from Europe, coriander seeds are used widely in Indian, Latin American, North African, and Middle Eastern cooking and are found in many classic spice mixes. Aside from pairings with fish and pork dishes, this versatile spice also pairs beautifully with fruit, especially apples, and sits equally well in sweet cakes and cookies.
Coriander recipes and page numbers in the book:
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This page created May 2008
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