- "Chinese parsley" redirects here. This can also
refer to the unrelated Heliotropium curassavicum.
) is an
. It is also known as
or, particularly in the Americas,
. Coriander is native to southern Europe
and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft, hairless plant
growing to 50 cm [20 in.] tall. The leaves are variable in
shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and
feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers are borne in
, white or very pale pink,
asymmetrical, with the petals pointing away from the centre of the
umbel longer (5–6 mm) than those pointing towards it (only
1–3 mm long). The fruit
is a globular dry
3–5 mm diameter.
The word derives from Latin “coriandrum
” in turn from
Greek “ ”. The Mycenaean Greek form of the word, koriadnon
is "similar to the name of Minos
, and it is plain how this
might later evolve to koriannon
All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the
dried seeds are commonly used in cooking. Coriander is common in
Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian, Mexican, Texan, Latin American, Chinese, African and
Southeast Asian cuisine.
It is used in the Belgian wheat beer witbier
The leaves are variously referred to as coriander
(in the Americas, from
the Spanish for the plant), culantro
regions of Latin America; this is also a common name for
The leaves have a different taste from the seeds, with citrus
overtones. Some perceive an unpleasant "soapy"
taste or a rank smell and avoid the leaves. Belief that this is
genetically determined may arise from the known genetic variation
in taste perception of the synthetic
; however, no
specific link has been established between coriander and a bitter
taste perception gene.
The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many South Asian foods
), in Chinese dishes
and in Mexican salsa
. Chopped coriander leaves are a garnish
on cooked dishes such as dal
. As heat diminishes their flavor quickly,
coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish
immediately before serving. In Indian and Central Asian recipes,
coriander leaves are used in large amounts and cooked until the
flavor diminishes. The leaves spoil quickly when removed from the
plant, and lose their aroma when dried or frozen.
Coriander leaves were formerly common in European cuisine
. Today western
Europeans usually eat coriander leaves only in dishes that
originated in foreign cuisines, except in Portugal, where they
are still an ingredient in traditional dishes.
Dried coriander fruits
Fresh coriander leaves, known as кинза (kinza) in Russian (from
Georgian ქინძი), are often used in salads in Russia and other CIS
The dry fruits are known as coriander seeds
. The word coriander
preparation may refer solely to these seeds (as a spice), rather
than to the plant itself. The seeds have a lemony citrus flavour
when crushed, due to terpenes linalool
. It is
described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavored.
It is commonly found both as whole dried seeds and in ground form.
Seeds can be roasted or heated on a dry pan briefly before grinding
to enhance and alter the aroma. Ground coriander seed loses flavor
quickly in storage and is best ground fresh.
Coriander seed is a spice (Hindi
), in garam masala
curries, which often employ
the ground fruits in generous amounts together with cumin
. It acts as a thickener. Roasted coriander
seeds, called dhana dal
, are eaten as a snack. It is the
main ingredient of the two south Indian dishes: sambhar
(சாம்பார்) and rasam
(இரசம்). Coriander seeds are boiled with water
and drunk as indigenous medicine for colds.
Outside of Asia, coriander seed is used for pickling
vegetables, and making sausages in Germany
and South Africa (see boerewors
Russia and Central Europe coriander seed is an occasional
ingredient in rye
bread as an alternative to
. Coriander seeds are used in
today, though they
were more important in former centuries.
Coriander seeds are used in brewing certain styles of beer,
particularly some Belgian wheat beers
The coriander seeds are used with orange peel to add a citrus
Coriander roots have a deeper, more intense flavor than the leaves.
They are used in a variety of Asian cuisines. They are commonly
used in Thai dishes, including soups and curry pastes.
Coriander grows wild over a wide area of the Near East and southern
Europe, prompting the comment, "It is hard to define exactly where
this plant is wild and where it only recently established itself."
desiccated mericarps were found in the
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
level of the Nahal Hemel Cave in
Israel, which may be the oldest archeological find of
About half a litre of coriander mericarps were
recovered from the tomb of Tutankhamun
and because this plant does not grow wild in Egypt, Zohary and Hopf
interpret this find as proof that coriander was cultivated by the
. The Bible mentions
coriander in Exodus
16:31: "And the
house of Israel began to call its name Manna
and it was round like coriander seed, and its taste was like that
of flat cakes made with honey."
Coriander seems to have been cultivated in Greece since at least
the second millennium BC. One of the Linear B
tablets recovered from Pylos refers to
the species as being cultivated for the manufacture of perfumes,
and it appears that it was used in two forms: as a spice for its
seeds and as a herb for the flavor of its leaves.
appears to be confirmed by archaeological evidence from the same
period: the large quantities of the species retrieved from an
Early Bronze Age layer at Sitagroi in Macedonia could point to cultivation of
the species at that time.
Coriander was brought to the British colonies in North America in
1670 and was one of the first spices cultivated by early
Potential medical uses
Coriander has been used as a folk
for the relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iran.
Experiments in mice support its use as an anxiolytic
. Coriander seeds are used in
traditional Indian medicine as a diuretic
by boiling equal amounts of coriander seeds and cumin seeds, then
cooling and consuming the resulting liquid. In holistic and
traditional medicine, it is used as a carminative
and as a digestive aid.
Coriander juice (mixed with turmeric
or mint juice) is used as a treatment for acne, applied to the face
in the manner of toner.
Coriander can produce an allergic reaction in some people.
Notes and references