For that bit of zing

know your ingredient

For that bit of zing

It’s an ingredient that no efficient cook can do without. Used extensively as a garnish, or in its ground form, it’s a component that occupies the pride of place in kitchens the world over. Yes, I’m referring to coriander that adds that extra punch to our dishes. Also known as hara dhania, fresh coriander, cilantro, Mexican coriander and Chinese parsley, this green herb belonging to the parsley family, is a wonderful herb. Known for its lemony flavour, coriander not only adds that much-needed zing to our chutneys, gravies, salads and rasams, but also lends them body and colour.

This wonder herb has a long history to boast of, and can be traced back to 5000 BC. There’s enough proof to suggest that coriander was cultivated by ancient Egyptians and Greeks, too. While Greeks used its essential oil as an ingredient in perfumes, Romans used it to mask the smell of rotten meat.

While each cuisine uses coriander differently, the leaves are often used raw in most dishes, especially as a garnish, as it is a known fact that coriander’s flavour gets diminished when it is cooked through. Because of the antioxidants present in it, coriander also prevents cooked food from going bad.

A good source of dietary fibre, vitamins and essential oils, coriander is packed with amazing health benefits, and has antiseptic and carminative properties. Coriander has a short shelf life unless stored properly. Wrapping it in paper or thin cloth before keeping it in the fridge ensures that it stays fresh for a long time. This herb can be easily grown in your kitchen garden.

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