Coriander seeds

Coriander. Used occasionally, it’s probably not one of your spotlight spices. But coriander is one of those few spices that moves effortlessly through each season contributing its versatile  flavor to so many foods in its typical unassuming style.

Some find it bright and fresh with a hint of citrus and tang. Others describe a subtle undercurrent of caraway, lemon, cumin and sage. Coriander is a key ingredient to sauces that make you sweat, like molé and curries. On the flip side, Ayurveda lists coriander as one of 5 cooling spices

Whatever your taste buds want, coriander is there to make it better. It’s like your best buddy—in the form of a spice. Recently, I joined a live Twitter chat called #spicechat (1st Wed. of each month from 4-5 p.m. EST)  that focused entirely on coriander. The enthusiasm for this spice was astonishing. I picked up some fantastic ideas for coriander flavor pairings. I listed them below along with the tried and true.  

  1. Apples. Think baked apples, apple pie, apple pie spice blend, squash and apple soups.
  2. Chicken. Baked or braised–cover the chicken in a combination of flour, salt, coriander and a white pepper. Bonus–add onions and apples and slip it inside a tortilla.
  3. Breads. Add with abandon to biscuits and buns.
  4. Vegetables. Try green beans, cauliflower, onions, spinach and tomatoes. Hint on the cauliflower. Roast the florettes on 450 for 20 min. Mix with some garlic, oregano and coriander then roast a final 5 min. Sprinkle with lemon juice and Parmesan.
  5. Curries. Coriander adds that subtle zing and freshness to red, yellow and green curries.
  6. Molé. I haven’t made molé but have consumed my fair share and have talked to plenty of folks willing to tackle that task. Coriander with the chocolate…I rest my case.
  7. Seafood. Think shrimp white fish with a delicate taste.
  8. Eggs. Mix with the yolk for deviled eggs or in an omelette.
  9. Chocolate. Want to elicit inquisitive looks but also deliver a dynamite duo? Experiment with adding some coriander to chocolate. This is a grown-up combination so think of coriander as an addition to a ganache or something you don’t plan on serving to a 5 yr. old’s birthday party. I did a search on coriander chocolate and found a chocolate coriander aperitif–read away and be as captivated as I was.  
  10. Gingerbread.  Yes, definitely.

And a bonus.

11. Beer. If you’re a brew master…good on ya! If not, look for coriander in seasonal summer ales. Drop by Ancient Fire Wines with any beer questions—Jason will definitely help you out in your quest.

A Few Extras

Please, please, please, buy coriander whole and grind it yourself. Ground coriander from the store tastes about as exciting as powdered cardboard. And my usual mantra–roast the seeds to really take it to another level.

You can get coriander online at My Spice Sage. My Spice Sage sells a 4 oz. resealable bag for a mere $3.25. Or 1 oz. for $1.75.

And finally, coriander is a spice from the seeds of the cilantro plant. Cilantro is an unusual herb–loved and hated. But don’t prejudice your opinion of coriander with your cilantro experience.

Let this list inspire your own ideas. And please add them in the comments so we can grow the coriander flavor radar!


Photo attribution: Coriander seeds by Zoyachubby on Flickr.   Cilantro by Hpguk on Flickr.