Dhania (Coriandrum sativum) is one of the world's most commonly used herbs. It is green, leafy and strong-smelling with a fresh, citrus taste that makes it an invaluable garnish and flavour enhancer. Both the fresh leaves and stalks are edible. Native to southern Europe and the Middle East, the plant is now grown worldwide. Dhania tends to be associated most with Asian and Central and South American cooking. For maximum flavour, it is best added to dishes just before serving.
- Other Names
- cilantro; Arab parsley; Chinese parsley; cigánypetrezselyem (Hungarian); cilantrillo (some Caribbean islands); gad or kusbara (Hebrew); Indian parsley; pak chi met or phak hom (Thai); wanzendill (German); yuen sai (Chinese)
- Purchase and Avoid
- Drying destroys most of dhania’s fragrance, so only buy it fresh. When purchasing be on the lookout for leaves that are yellowing or rotting.
- Store dhania wrapped in paper towels and then in a plastic bag in the warmest part of the refrigerator, generally near the light. Field-grown dhania sold with roots will keep best in a jar filled with water to maintain moisture. They lose flavour when dried, but may be frozen either blanched or chopped and frozen into ice cubes.
The leaves are always used fresh.
The leaves can be chopped or minced before use.
They feature in Spanish, Middle Eastern, Indian, Oriental and South American cookery.
They are sprinkled like parsley on cooked dishes, minced or puréed in sauces, soups and curries, especially bhuna.
Both seeds and leaves can be used in salads.
In Thailand the root of the coriander plant is used to flavour meats and curries.
Make Mexican pico de gallo by combining chopped tomatoes, green chillies, onion, lime juice, and plenty of chopped dhania.
Coriander grows quickly and does not take well to transplanting, so it should be started in the spot where you plan to grow it. If you plant coriander seeds, you will be able to harvest the leaves in 14 to 21 days. Prune it regularly to ensure many leaves, and prune off any flowers that may generate to prevent the plant from going to seed. Within 40 days, you will be able to harvest the seeds, thus allowing you to plant more coriander. Once it develops seeds, the leaves flavour will turn unpleasant. It develops seeds quickly in high heat, so if you live in a southern region, consider planting it in partial shade. Be sure to use the leaves fresh, as it loses its flavour when dried.
Category: Spices and Herbs
Sub Category: Herb
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