Do you love Asian and Mexicna cuisines? Whenever I cook an Asian dish in particular, I never go easy on the coriander. But recently, I found a few impressive coriander substitutes that give my meals the same splendid taste. 

What is coriander?

Coriander is derived from Coriandrum sativum, which is popularly known as the coriander plant. [i] Although the whole plant is called coriander, what we’re talking about is the spice made from the plant’s seeds. As a plant, coriander is indigenous to several Asian, African, and European countries. Here are a few more fun facts on video about coriander seed from Glen & Friends. 

Is coriander the same as cilantro?

Not exactly. Although these spices come from the same plant species, they’re different from each other. Cilantro is made from the stalks and leaves of the coriander plant. Conversely, coriander comes from the dried seeds of the plant. Other common differences include the following: 

  • Cilantro contains a greater number of vitamins than coriander, but it has low mineral content.
  • Cilantro has a citrusy flavor and a strong aroma. Alternatively, the coriander’s aroma is nutty, spicy, and warm.
  • Both are used in different types of dishes. Cilantro is often added in soups, Acorda, chutney, guacamole, and salsa. In contrast, coriander is part of meat rubs, stews, soups, rice dishes, curries, and pickled vegetables.

What is the taste of coriander?

The taste of coriander depends on its preparation. [ii] When left whole, coriander is as floral as cardamom—it tastes like curry and citrus, with a sweet and light touch. Ground coriander produces nutty and roasted aromas from the seeds. 

The flavor of coriander intensifies with cooking, although you lose out on its uniqueness. If you don’t want to sacrifice its natural essence, then you can toast it briefly before putting it in your food. Here’s a compact spice grinder we like.

What is the history behind Coriander?

Coriander is believed to have originated from southwestern Europe. Researchers predict that it has been in use since 5,000 BC. Coriander-related references have been found in Egyptian tombs and Sanskrit writings. American colonists introduced it as one of the first herbs in Massachusetts. 

What are fresh coriander substitutes?

If you are looking for fresh coriander replacement, then the following options can be useful. [iii]

Tarragon

Tarragon has a fair aroma of lemon and adds an exquisite zing. You can use it as coriander replacement to cook warm dishes like curry. Chopped tarragon is useful as a green topping on a South American or Asian dish. 

Watercress

Watercress gives off a fine peppery aroma, which is why it serves as a good coriander substitute. It is quite potent in taste. You can use watercress as a green sprinkle for an Asian salad. 

Dill

Dill substitutes coriander due to its earthy and lemony essence. It is a good choice for seafood dishes. 

What are ground coriander substitutes?

Some recipes are better with ground coriander over its fresh counterpart. The former is made from dried coriander seeds and it gives Thai and Indian dishes their distinct aroma. You can add them in curries or utilize them as a spice rub to roast vegetables. 

Cloves

Cloves produce a sweet spicy aroma and can replace coriander as a seasoning ingredient for meat, especially in pork-based dishes. Since cloves tend to disintegrate vigorously during cooking, make sure to place them in a tea filter. This way, the flavor settles nicely into the dish.

Cumin

Coriander and cumin seeds bear resemblance in terms of flavor. You can take advantage of cumin as a ground spice for cooking Indian dishes such as curries. Bear in mind that the maximum flavor is only released when you roast off the spices in the pan. 

Caraway Seeds

The caraway plant belongs to the carrot family. These seeds are an ideal coriander substitute whenever you are required to flavor pickled vegetables such as pumpkin or cucumber. The peppery, nutty, and earthy aromas strengthen its case further. It is added to spice rubs, stews, and curries. 

Final Thoughts

Although coriander is in high demand as an essential ingredient in numerous international dishes, it is certainly not the most widely available spice. Perhaps, this is why you should learn about the coriander seed substitutes as backup options. Even if you have a substantial supply of coriander, using these substitutes can give your dishes a wonderful aroma. 

About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

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