CORIANDER - Tasting freshness, feeling good...
Coriander is just one of those herbs that isn't for every taste... Its defined and rich flavour doesn't appeal to everybody and most certainly you will either love it or hate it. As for me, the first time I tried coriander I was 22 years old, far too old for such a wonderful herb, as far as I'm concerned. You see, coriander is not particularly a famous herb where I grew up, more easily you find parsley in everything you eat, than coriander. And it was just when I moved to the Algarve - south of Portugal - that I first tasted coriander or better yet dishes with coriander. I was sold from the first taste on...
But coriander is much more than just a herb, you can get tons of flavour on the dishes you cook just by adding a handful of fresh coriander, but you are also adding health, so if you haven't try it, do.
You might like it or not, but if you do like it, you have on your hands an herb that can transform the most bland dish in the world, that speaks of summer and sun shining (at least that's what it speaks of to me), that is north and east and west and south, it is Mexico and all the Mediterranean countries, but it is also India... and moreover it's you taking care of you and your family, taking care of your health. So, what about coriander?
GROWING CORIANDER IN YOUR GARDEN
If you have an herb garden and you ever tried to grow coriander you probably already now that coriander is a very temperamental herb, to say the least... Growing coriander is difficult, you probably have to try three or four times before you get it right.
Chose somewhere sunny in the morning and shaddy in the afternoon and plant your seeds close to the surface, separate each seed from each other approx. 7,9 in/20 cm. Add compost to the soil or a bit of brandy (yes, brandy). Be sure to water frequently, but don't use a lot of water each time. Be sure add monthly some fertiliser.
Be aware that coriander grows quickly and bolts to seed quickly, so you should harvest the leaves frequently, not allowing coriander flowers, which carry its seeds to appear, because soon as the flowers start growing the energy of the plan goes from producing leaves to producing flowers and what we really want to add to our dishes are the leaves.
If you see a flower, just cut it off to maintain the growing of the leaves as opposed to the flowers. Anyway, the flowers do carry the seeds that you need to replant the coriander, so you can use them to grow new coriander plants.
Since it's very difficult to maintain a coriander plant, you will probably need to sow again from time to time.
Best times to plant coriander are Spring and Autumn, since they are cooler periods of the year and coriander is a plant that doesn't particularly enjoy the very hot or very cold, though the later is preferable.
Anyway, if you can't grow the herb in your garden, there are plenty of markets that sell it fresh. Now, this is an important detail, to really enjoy coriander you really need to use it fresh. Dry leaves or seeds aren't really the same, although they are available for cooking like that.
What coriander can do for your health
Now, much like many other food produces, oranges and sardines and, even olive oil, and so many others, coriander has plenty of benefits to our health, so it is a smart choice to add this herb to our diet.
Such a small, delicate herb, actually has quite a number of essential oils, acids, minerals and vitamins, including vitamin C.
All this means that coriander is a great herb to help fight off some diseases, such as anemia, cholesterol, conjunctivitis and many other.
You see, acids that are part of coriander, such as linoleic acid, stearic acid and palmitic acid are great to help reduce cholesterol. The same way the various essential oils present, such as citronelol - that is an anti-septic - helps with mouth ulcers. It is also rich in iron, which means that it can help cure anemia. Such components such as the various vitamins present are great to prevent eye problems. The benefits don't stop here, there are more, so it's really a smart choice adding coriander to your diet...
Cooking with coriander
Since I first was introduced to coriander I really became addicted to that fresh taste, to the point where I add it to many of my dishes... I love to give some flavour to a bland rice by adding coriander and tomato or coriander and fresh mushrooms... In fish or seafood dishes it works wonders... Then Mexican food recipes, obviously and I have even tried it in traditional pork meat casseroles and it works...
Personally, I only add fresh coriander, but you can also add seeds or dried coriander, though for me it doesn't do it, because the taste I love is missing.
Now, I always have fresh coriander around, either market bought or home grown, and I add it generously to my dishes, during cooking and when it's time to serve.
I leave you with two favourites of mine: the first is tomato and coriander soup, since - as you know - living in a country that goes by the mediterranean diet when it comes to eating patterns, soup is very important and it's a great meal starter, plenty of vitamins, plenty of flavour.
Then you can try my very own monkfish pasta, which is a typical dish of where I live and it's a great dish if you have small children, apart from using coriander.
So, I hope you try to enjoy it!
Tomato and coriander soup
5 medium size potatoes
5 garlic cloves
5 medium size ripe tomatoes
1 cube of chicken stock
5 tbsp of olive oil
Salt to taste
Take a large stock pot and place all the vegetables in, chopped roughly, then the chicken stock, salt and olive oil, cover it all with water and bring the soup to a boil, once it’s boiling lower to a medium-heat and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes. Once the thirty minutes have gone by get your hand blender and reduce everything to a smooth puree. When serving add to each bowl some choped fresh coriander on top.
- 1 Onion, minced
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 4 medium size ripe tomatos, chopped
- 1.1 pounds / 500 grs Monkfish, sliced
- 1/4 Green pepper, chopped
- 1/4 Red pepper, chopped
- 10 Clams
- 1 cup Stortini pasta
- 1/2 cube Fish stock
- 2 handfuls Fresh coriander, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- In a medium sauce pan heat your olive oil ( pour in the pan until its bottom is covered), then add minced onions and 4 minced garlic cloves. Saute for 5 minutes over medium heat until you find the onion has passed the translucent stage and is turning already a bit yellowish. Then add the tomatos roughly chopped and let it simmer for a while, stirring every now and then.
- Add a handful of fresh coriander, chopped green and red peppers, some clams for taste, salt and pepper and ½ cube of fish stock. At last, add the monkfish slices and water.
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for a while (around 15 minutes), stirring with the spoon every now and then. If necessary add more water.
- Check the seasoning to see if you should add some more salt or pepper for instance. Take out the fish slices and take out the bones. Afterwards put them in the pan again.
- Add the stortini pasta and let it cook over a low heat for a while. Once it’s cooked, it’s time to serve. Just add some fresh coriander on top.
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© Copyright Sep 07 2012 / Algarveview.hubpages.com. To use part or the whole article you must first get written permission from the author. Feel free, nonetheless, to use an intro of the hub with a link to the article here on hubpages for the rest of the article.
© 2012 Joana e Bruno
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