The dried seed or fruit of the Coriandrum sativum plant, which also produces cilantro, coriander belongs to the parsley family. With an earthy, slightly lemony taste some may be surprised that coriander and cilantro are from the same plant. Vastly different in flavor, they both share a pungent taste and heat reducing properties. While fresh cilantro can be eaten raw, its seed, coriander, need to be infused, stewed, toasted or bloomed to release its flavor and medicine. For as light as coriander seeds are, they are hard and time to break down, when used whole.
Greatly valued in Ayurvedic Medicine, the sages of the Indian-sub continent have documented the many health benefits of coriander seeds. However, coriander seeds are revered in many cultures and appreciated globally. From curries to pickling, these seeds can be found in Thai curry pastes, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Egyptian spice blends, European and North American pickles and the masalas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. A spice that can stand on its own or blend well with an array of spice, including herbs like thyme, coriander seeds has an unsubstituted flavor.
In Ayurvedic Medicine, coriander seeds are often blended with cumin, coriander, and fennel to make the digestive boosting CCF tea. While each of the three spices has their own unique flavor and medicinal value, they share some similarities. One being all three are carminative spices. When paired together they harmonize to create a powerful, yet a gentle formula that supports cleansing and detoxification. Aiding in numerous ailments from hormonal imbalances, blood pressure to gut health.
Through the lens of ayurvedic nutrition, coriander seeds fall under the pungent taste like most spices, but coriander seeds also have an astringent, sweet and bitter taste. Making them rich in the elements of air and earth with a touch of fire and water. The predominance in air gives them a lightness, fostering movement and preventing stagnation. With the ability to kindle the digestive fire, coriander is also cooling. Helping to reduce excess acidity digestive fire, digests ama, or toxins, supports elimination, calming intestinal spasms, and reducing excess heat, which can result in less skin irritation and redness. As a result, aiding with the absorption of nutrients. In general, coriander is a tri-doshic herb, but in large quantities, it can increase vata.
The earthy, slightly citrus favor pair well with more spices and herbs. Use coriander powder in veggie stir-frys, soup, stews, curry, grains, meat rubs, or rich tomato based stews. No matter the season, coriander is
THE BENEFITS OF CORIANDER
- Improves digestion
- Digest toxins
- Helps absorb nutrients
- Prevents bloating, gas, belching, acidity
- Calm intestinal spasms
- Eases chronic constipation
- Reduces excess heat and acidity
HOW DO I COOK WITH CORIANDER?
- Use seeds in slow-cooked meals like stews, soups, stock, and tomato-based sauces and meat-rich curries to counterbalance the acidity
- Add seeds to pickles to extract flavor and balance acidity
- Mix toasted coriander, cumin powder with dried oregano and salt to make a rub for chicken or meats
- Add a heaping teaspoon of coriander powder to your favorite lentil soups, stews, red pasta sauces. Pre-toast the powder for a rich flavor
- Mix toasted cumin, coriander, fennel and turmeric powder with some olive oil, lemon, and salt and drizzle over avocado toast, hummus or artichoke dip