A simple herb name but confusing. Cilantro and coriander are often mistaken for the same. Actually, they are the same depending on where you are. However, there is a difference between cilantro and coriander which will be explained as you continue reading. You should consider adding cilantro to your diet as it has impressive health benefits. Let’s see how you can do this and get ready to grow your own cilantro indoors.
What is the Difference between Cilantro and Coriander
Cilantro and coriander are the same in some countries, while certain countries treat them as two totally different ingredients.
As you may know, the English spelling of some words in the USA and UK are different although the same meaning. For example, flavor vs flavour and favorite vs favourite. These words might not cause an issue but misuse of cilantro and coriander in cooking might cause an unflavorable dish.
Getting back to the topic, the scientific name of this herb plant is Coriandrum sativum. And, cilantro is the Spanish translation of coriander.
In the US, cilantro is the leaves and stems of the plant and the seeds are coriander. Thus, these two are totally different.
In the UK, the leaves and stems of the plant are referred to as coriander and the seeds are called coriander seeds.
What is cilantro referred to as in India? Dhania.
Add to the confusion, I have seen cilantro labelled as Chinese parsley at my local market.
With the names sorted out, you just need to be careful following a recipe that calls for either cilantro or coriander. Knowing the country origin of the recipe may help.
Today, it’s all about cilantro and leave coriander for another day.
How to Use Cilantro in Cooking
Cilantro is one of the most versatile cooking herbs and an important one in Asian cuisine namely, Thai, Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese dishes. Not forgetting Mediterranean and Mexican dishes such as guacamole and salsa.
It is amusing that some people like the slightly bitter, spicy and sweetish taste while others hated it, describing it as soapy and disgusting. Furthermore, the strong pungent aroma may add to the love or hate correlation.
When preparing food with cilantro, you should always add them towards the end of the cooking process. Else, the essentials oils evaporate too much thus defeat the purpose of adding them.
Is it a good idea substituting fresh herbs with dried? While some fresh herbs can be substituted but for cilantro, I say no. In dried form, the flavor of cilantro does not even come close to the fresh thus is of little worth. You don’t need to trouble yourself buying dried cilantro. It will end up taking unnecessary valuable space on your spice rack.
If you come to love cilantro, consider growing your own. Later on this.
I use cilantro in the simplest way – coarsely chopped and sprinkled onto almost any dish, from salads, eggs, soups, fish, and chicken to rice and noodles.
Are you ready to try cilantro if you haven’t? Or are you looking for more ways to use fresh cilantro? Besides eating raw, there are many other ways. Here you go
Salad dressing. Cilantro pairs well with vinaigrettes and citrus-flavored dressings. Thus, adding to your salad dressing will give an extra kick. It is best to allow the dressing to sit in the refrigerator for about an hour to allow it to infuse before consuming.
Sour Cream. Don’t forget your sour cream. If you love to top soups or deviled eggs with sour cream, stir in chopped cilantro into the sour cream. You may also use this as a dip for your vegetable platter.
Coleslaw. A refreshing coleslaw coming up. Next time you make your coleslaw, add coarsely chopped cilantro.
Pasta Salad. Besides your normal bowl of green salad, chopped cilantro with pasta salad is another refreshing dish you must try.
Stir Fry. Add chopped cilantro to your next stir fry to give it extra flavor. Remember to add towards the end of cooking to ensure the fresh flavor and aroma are not lost. This is also a healthy way to reduce salt in cooking.
Herb Butter. Mix in chopped cilantro to butter. A herb scissors make this task easier. Use herb butter as a sauce or condiment for grilled steaks, lamb chops or grilled fish. The buttery herbaceous flavor and aroma are delectable.
Herb Rice. This is one of my favorite. Rice need not be plain and bland. Spice it up with herbs and spices. Add chopped cilantro to cooked rice and fluff the rice to mix in. Simple, flavorful and healthy.
Herb infused Oil. Flavor your oils and use it on pasta dishes or salad for extra flavor. You can also make your own garlic herb bread dip for crusty bread. Delicious.
Fruits and Herbs Infused Water. Keep yourself hydrated with nutritious fruits and herbs infused water instead of sugary sodas. Watermelon and cilantro is a refreshing combination.
Juice It or Blend It. If you are into juicing for health, you must try juicing with herbs. This way, you will extract and drink all the juicy nutrients. If you have a problem with constipation, it is best to make a smoothie. Cilantro is a wonderful source of dietary fiber. How to do this? Refer links below.
By now, you should know there are so many uses for cilantro besides sprinkling them raw onto your dishes. If you have leftover of fresh cilantro, it is best to preserve them in the form of infused oil or herb butter. Else, you can quickly use cilantro to make healthy herb rice, nutritious infused water, juice it or blend.
Find out how
- Buttery & Herbaceous Herb Butter
- About Herb Infused Oil
- Healthy & Simple Herb Rice
- Fruits and Herbs Infused Water
- Juicing with Herbs
- Make a Healthy Smoothie without a Recipe
I am sure you would like to know…
The Health Benefits of Eating Cilantro
While cilantro is a flavorsome addition to your dishes, its nutritional and medicinal contents may provide a range of health benefits.
Let’s see what nutritional values of cilantro are and how each benefits your health.
Protein, carbohydrates and fat make up the macronutrients. These nutrients are needed by your body in large quantities for growth, energy provision, reproduction, immunity, healing and other body functions to maintain overall health. Cilantro is low in fat and has about an even amount of protein and carbs.
Green-colored plants contain chlorophyll which is the source of Vitamin K production. Leafy green cilantro is extremely high in this vitamin. It plays an important role in bone strength as you age and essential for blood clotting. Blood clotting keeps the blood in a damaged blood vessel, the first stage of wound healing.
This fat-soluble vitamin is known as retinol and it is important for good vision, cell reproduction and fetal development. Vitamin A often works as an antioxidant, fighting cell damage and is thought to help reduce inflammation.
In a study, cilantro through its antioxidant effects may help protect against oxidative stress. Many degenerative diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, muscular degeneration, and many more are linked to oxidative stress.
Cilantro has a moderately high amount of riboflavin and folate. Both are B vitamins that help break down macronutrients for energy, produce red blood cells and promote good vision.
This is a trace mineral that plays many roles in the body. It helps strengthen bones, metabolize fat and carbohydrate and absorb calcium. For people with diabetes, manganese may help manage blood sugar levels.
In an animal study, it indicated manganese helps the pancreas create insulin which is needed by the body to regulate blood sugar levels.
Fiber promotes regularity, helps fill you up, reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. Fresh herbs, along with vegetables and fruits have a high amount of dietary fiber.
One-quarter cup of cilantro contains a single calorie, 0.09g of protein, 0.02g of fat, 0.15g of carbohydrates, 0.1g of fiber and 0.03g of sugar. Besides the ones mentioned above, other nutrients found in cilantro are Vitamin C and E, as well as niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper.
Cilantro Health Benefits at a Glance
- Aids digestion
- Support weight loss
- Relieve constipation
- Reduce cholesterol
- Reduce inflammation
- Promote bone health
- Promote good vision
- Counter oxidative stress
- Regulate blood sugar levels
Given its health benefits, would you like to grow your own cilantro? Yes! Let’s continue
Growing Cilantro Indoors
It is good to have a continuous supply of cilantro all year round. In this case, best to grow them indoors so you need not worry when seasons change.
Cilantro is a delicate herb, not the easiest to grow but it does grow well once a conducive environment is achieved.
Here are some guideline to follow
Temperature. Cilantro prefers cooler temperatures with full sun four to five hours per day. In this case, the best option is in an east-facing window.
Soil. Use light, airy, sandy soil mix to increase drainage. Good drainage is essential to keep the soil regularly moist, not soaked. This will prevent root rot which is one of the most common problems growing herbs in pots.
Pots. Cilantro plants have deep tap roots so your pot needs to be at least 20cm deep.
Did you know? Cilantro taproot is packed with flavor. Asian soup stock recipes call for cilantro root, just like Europeans use parsley root in stock.
Watering. Always check the surface of the soil to make sure it is dried out before watering. Thorough watering is more important than frequent watering.
I suggest you grow cilantro from seeds although regrow cilantro from store-bought is not impossible. I found cilantro does not root as easily as rosemary using the propagating method.
Regardless of which method you prefer, I have all the details for you here – Grow Herbs Indoors Year Round.
Are you ready to sow your cilantro seeds? If you are looking for heirloom seeds, consider these from NatureZ Edge on Amazon.
It is a good idea to sow cilantro seeds every few weeks so that they never run out.
The Good News – Help on the Way
I understand not everyone has a green thumb. To avoid disappointment or you do not like all the hassle of getting the pots, soil and seeds separately, get this Herb Garden Kit from Urban Leaf.
You have all that’s needed to start growing.
- A reusable planter made from fast-growing renewable timber
- 3 coco coir pots, suitable for transplanting should you want to
- Expanding soil discs that include worm castings and water-retaining crystals for long-term plant health
- Bamboo labels
- 3 packets of seeds – basil, cilantro and parsley
- Free access to Urban Leaf web-based app (no download required) for step by step setup and maintenance guides.
The wonderful part is all Urban Leaf products are backed by their Green Thumb Guarantee. If you are not satisfied with their products, or cannot get them to work, they will refund or replace them for free. This statement is posted all over their website. So, you need not worry.
There are two similar kits available that come with
- Chives, rosemary and oregano
- Tomato, pepper and strawberry
Besides buying for yourself, these are excellent gifts to give. Yes…
My Experience with Cilantro
When I was younger, I dislike cilantro. When my family and I dine at the restaurant, cilantro is usually coarsely chopped and sprinkled onto a dish, especially a fish dish as a garnish. As a young lady then, every tiny bit of them will be removed.
Now, as a mother, I will gladly remove them from my children’s plate and I have them all. Instead of as a garnish, I believe it is more a flavor enhancer. Our taste bud changes as we grow. Do you agree?
All in All
I assume you like cilantro. Else, you will not be reading till now and I thank you for staying with me.
For flavor or for health, you get the best of both, consuming cilantro.
While it is unlikely you will eat large enough quantity of cilantro to get vast amounts of its nutrients, adding this herb to your meals can give you an added dose of nutrition.
With the tips given on how to use cilantro in cooking, surely you get the idea.
Having cilantro plants indoors is most convenient and I am pretty sure you will like it. Tell us you do or don’t in the comments section below or share your experience consuming or growing cilantro. From where you are, is cilantro same as coriander?
Before I leave you to write your comments below, I hear you ask – Can I substitute cilantro? Well, of course, you can.
Best Substitute for Cilantro
If the reason for substitution is your dislike for cilantro’s flavor, you might as well omit this herb altogether.
Honestly, I don’t find anything close to cilantro other than parsley. So, if you run out of cilantro, parsley is the closest follow by tarragon and dill or use all three.
Happy Cooking & Stay Healthy!
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From the Corner of My Home – Spice Up Your Life with Herbs and Spices
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