Cilantro herb (Coriandrum sativum)
The Cilantro herb is the leafy part of the coriander plant, with a slight citrus flavour. This herb is used as an ingredient in many types of cooking especially Thai, Chinese, South Asian and Mexican.
The name Cilantro can be a bit confusing depending where you are in the world. I say this because in the United Kingdom the word Cilantro does not get used and probably doesn’t exist. In the United Kingdom it is just called Coriander and the stem is called Coriander stem and same for the seeds, click on coriander seeds to read more about this spice.
Cilantro can, of course, be bought from supermarkets, but may not always be available or convenient to buy. Another way is to buy this herb dried which can be great as it often comes in a nice easy to store jar or bottle, which can normally fit straight into your spice rack.
So, how to use dried cilantro? There seems to be a general rule for this and it is, for every 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro use 1 tablespoon of dried cilantro.
I find cooking with dried cilantro fine. It is an excellent substitute for fresh cilantro when not available or when it’s just too inconvenient to get. I especially like to use when I am making a chilli.
In this page I will add a home favourite of mine, and share the recipe for my home made chilli which the family love.
Don’t forget before you start cooking this dish to put your rice on! At home I have a rice cooker, which is brilliant, just add rice and water then leave it to cook.
Serves 4 people
500 grams minced (ground) lean beef
1 x large onion
5 x large cloves of garlic chopped
200 grams straw mushrooms diced
3 large red chilli chopped (spicy)
1 x 300 gram tin of kidney beans (washed)
1 x tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon chilli powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons dried cilantro
1 x fresh lime
Add the oil to the pan and heat, then add the onions and fry until soft. Now add the chopped garlic and chilli and fry for a further 2-3 minute then add the mushrooms and cook for another minute.
Now it’s time to add the mince (ground) beef and stir it into the mixture until the meat has browned.
Add the tomato paste and stir in until mixed in, then add the tomatoes and kidney beans. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer.
Now add the salt and pepper, stir and taste, then add the garlic powder and the cumin and the chilli powder.Give it a good stir and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. If it needs any water then add at this point but not too much!
Ok now add your cilantro and cut your lime in half and squeeze all of it into the mixture and stir. If the lime has seeds then be careful not to get these into the chilli.
Plate your rice and serve.