Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
The Cilantro is the leafy and stem 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 this word 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.
Antiseptic- The leaves, stem and roots of this plant have really good antiseptic, antibacterial and carminative properties. Studies show coriander is also effective in killing food borne disease and other infections.
Heart health- Helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure due to the potassium content. Also known to help reduce cholesterol levels with all the different acids contained in this plant, such as oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ascorbic acid. These also help reduce cardiovascular diseases and strokes.
Vitamins- A, C, E, K, Thiamin, Folates, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine and Riboflavin.
Minerals- Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Selenium and Zinc
So, how to use this herb dried? 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 this herb dried fine. It is an excellent substitute for this herb fresh 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.