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Coriander  [KOR-ee-an-der]     Native to the Mediterranean and the Orient, coriander is related to the parsley family. It's known for both its seeds (actually the dried, ripe fruit of the plant) and for its dark green, lacy leaves. The flavors of the seeds and leaves bear absolutely no resemblance to each other. Mention of coriander seeds was found in early Sanskrit writings and the seeds themselves have been discovered in Egyptian tombs dating to 960 BC. The tiny (1/8-inch), yellow-tan seeds are lightly ridged. They are mildly fragrant and have an aromatic flavor akin to a combination of lemon, sage and caraway. Whole coriander seeds are used in pickling and for special drinks, such as mulled wine. Ground seed is used in many baked goods (particularly Scandinavian), curry blends, soups, etc. Both forms are commonly available in supermarkets.
    Coriander leaves are also commonly known as cilantro  and Chinese parsley . Fresh coriander leaves have an extremely pungent (some say fetid) odor and flavor that lends itself well to highly seasoned food. Though it's purported to be the world's most widely used herb, many Americans and Europeans find that fresh coriander is definitely an acquired taste. Choose leaves with an even green color and no sign of wilting. Store a bunch of coriander, stems down, in a glass of water with a plastic bag over the leaves. Refrigerate in this manner for up to a week, changing the water every 2 days. Coriander leaves are used widely in the cuisines of India, Mexico, the Orient and the Caribbean.

    If you've got it, but don't know what to do with it, below are some traditional dishes that the seeds and ground spice complement nicely.

Salads chicken; fruit; ham; mixed greens; pasta; tuna
Soups & Stews chicken; fruit; pea; stocks
Fish & Poultry curried poultry and fish dishes
Meats beef; lamb; pork; sausages
Vegetables beets; cauliflower; onions; potatoes; saurkraut; spinach; tomatoes
Pasta; Grains;
Dried Beans
black beans; couscous; noodles; polenta; rice
Cheese & Egg Dishes cheese spreads; deviled eggs; egg salad; scrambles
Sauces cheese; chocolate; fruit; sweet
Desserts fruit; gingerbread; pumpkin; spice cakes and cookies
Miscellaneous chutneys; coffee; eggnog; fruit juices; hot chocolate; jams;
marinades; mulled wine; sweet breads

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