Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Coriander Touch

Be it a steaming hot list of  soup recipes, or a dish of luscious noodles, or a handsome serving of dumplings, or maybe just plain rice; a little bit of coriander just adds that right amount of delight. Mainly used in Indian and Indonesian dishes, coriander or cilantro is used widely as an enhancement to flavor and garnish. Its fresh citrus essence also makes it a good appetizer.

Indian dishes make the most out of this herb. Right from naan breads to chicken korma they are a prominent ingredient in these healthy gourmet recipes. Furthermore one of the many varieties of chutney utilizes the minty leaves as the main component. The street food of India which display a great range of crunchy snacks like alu-muri, bhelpuri, pav bhaji, papri chat and so on, often make it a point to exploit the fragrance of coriander. The leaves make a pretty nice addition to many soup preparations as well. It works wonders with lentil or carrots even.

Just like many spices, coriander acts as a good anti-oxidant. Fried foodstuffs or curries can be preserved for a longer time with a generous helping of coriander. Although this property is mainly possessed by the leaves, but the seeds also have a pretty good anti-oxidizing effect.

Moreover, coriander has been known to display anti- bacterial characteristics as well. What more, even folk medicine has records of this herb being used as a curative for insomnia and anxiety. Well, actually coriander as a medicinal herb as countless instances.

The fresh mint which makes a lot of delicious dishes is also used as an evergreen sauce. Coriander leaves can be made into a paste, mixed with a thickener and refrigerated, and regularly served with fries, bread and any basic meal; a pretty good trick for the busy bees who cannot afford the time to prepare delectable dishes in the working days. Powdered coriander seeds, commonly known in India as dhaniya powder, are a compulsory additive to numerous gravy preparations.

The essence of coriander extends over to dessert preparations as well. It is not only used to garnish curd and other creamy stuff, but it also finds a place in pastries, if you move over to western cuisine. Basically, you go munching snacks or stuffing a heavy laden meal, or slowly licking around that dessert, coriander can invoke the magic everywhere.

For bringing the vegetable stock alive, for sticking to the juicy chicken leg and making it caress the taste buds, for complementing the roasted brinjal and even for appearing to top up the pastries, here goes a salute to cilantro!

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