Coriander seeds, also called Cilantro or Dhania, are the fruit of the Coriandrum sativum plant and are used in a variety of cuisines as a flavoring spice. These tiny spherical seeds come from a small flowering plant that is native to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions and is used in many global dishes including curries, soups, and stews.
The coriander seed has a long history in the culinary world, in fact, it has been used for centuries in many areas of the world. The Romans, Greeks, and Middle Eastern cultures have all incorporated this flavor-filled ingredient into their cooking. In the United States and England, it is most commonly added to Indian and Mexican cuisines but is also found in Chinese, Asian, and Latin American dishes.
Coriander seeds not only provide a hint of nutty, earthy flavor to dishes but also add a pleasant aroma that is reminiscent of citrus and sage. They are used broadly as a garnish or as an aromatic component to dishes, often appearing in salads, soups, marinades, and curries.
When buying coriander seed, you will want to be sure that you are purchasing quality seeds, and you should inspect the package or bag they come in. Good-quality cilantro should have a slightly sweet or spicy bouquet, before it is cooked. However, if it has an old or musty smell, it is likely not fresh and should be discarded.
Coriander seeds are easy to store, but there are some best practices. Coriander seeds have a shelf life of up to one year when stored correctly in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. It is also important to keep them away from moisture, as this will cause them to mold or clump together. Alternatively, you can store ground coriander in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, away from moisture, for up to one month.
To use coriander seeds in your cooking, you can either grind them in a spice grinder or mortar, or briefly toast them in a hot dry skillet before adding them to your dish. The toasting will intensify their flavor and aroma. Coriander seeds can also be added whole to dishes, such as in pilafs and soups, just be sure to remove them before serving.
Coriander seeds come with many health benefits and can be easily incorporated into your diet. For example, it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties due to its high levels of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. Additionally, it can help with digestion, boost the immune system, and lower cholesterol.
Overall, coriander seeds are a versatile ingredient that adds a nutty, earthy flavor to a variety of dishes and can be used to add a burst of flavor to marinades, curries, soups, and even salads. With their numerous health benefits, they are a fantastic addition to any diet, and they can be kept fresh and flavorful for up to one year when stored correctly. With a little help from coriander seeds, you can take your cooking to a whole new level.