Our Love/Hate – Mostly Love – Relationship with Coriander
Arguably most famous for its appearance in guacamole, coriander also plays a starring role in Mexican salsas, Argentinian chimichurri sauce, Vietnamese rice paper rolls and atop a Thai laksa.
It really is an acquired taste, but once you grow to like it, you can’t get enough of it! But why is coriander – or cilantro – so polarising? The mere sight or mention of it can make those who don’t like it screw up their noses. For those who adore it, well, we’ll happily munch on leaves freshly picked from the plant!
Soapy aftertaste? It’s nobody’s fault
To those of us who adore it, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would say coriander tastes like soap! A study of identical and fraternal twins revealed that 80 per cent of identical twins both liked or disliked coriander. Meanwhile, only 50 per cent of fraternal twins shared the same opinion. With fraternal twins sharing only half their genetic makeup, this really points to a genetic basis for how we appreciate – or don’t appreciate – certain flavours.
Genetics firm, 23andMe analysed the genomes of approximately 30,000 people and found that those who said coriander smells like bubble bath had similarities in a cluster of smell receptor genes that detect the smell of soap.
Anyway, whilst it’s estimated that around 4 to 14 per cent of people truly dislike the taste of coriander, the bright side is that 86 to 96 per cent LOVE it!
Latasha’s Green Coriander Sauce
I don’t know how she does it but Latasha manages to pack so much flavour into her little jars! This one is a sublime concentrate of fresh coriander, ginger, garlic, chilli and lemon juice, among other goodies. It’s a vibrant blend of cooling garden aromas and warming spices so it works equally well with hot, cooked dishes as it does with cold, raw dishes.
- The stalks of coriander carry more flavour than the leaves, but the leaves obviously make for prettier presentation.
- Save money (and waste) on coriander by using the stalks in cooking then garnish with the leaves.
- Not just for Mexican food, coriander is used in many cuisines including Indian, Latin American, Chinese, African, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese and Thai.
- Coriander is also known as Chinese parsley.
- Arguably most famous for its appearance in guacamole, coriander also plays a starring role in Mexican salsas, Argentinian chimichurri sauce, Vietnamese rice paper rolls and atop a Thai laksa.
Coriander Chicken Tenderloins with Peas and Potatoes
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 300 g chicken tenderloins
- 1 tbsp Latasha’s Kitchen Green Coriander Sauce
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 small potatoes, skin on, cut into cubes
- ½ small red onion, sliced
- ½ cup frozen peas
- In a small bowl, coat the chicken tenderloins with Latasha’s Kitchen Green Coriander Sauce and allow to sit (refrigerated) for at least half an hour or overnight if preferred.
- Heat the oil in a pan. Add potatoes and stir occasionally until they turn a little translucent.
- Add sliced onion to the pan and stir.
- Add chicken to pan and stir everything together to get all ingredients coated in the sauce. Check back regularly to ensure everything is cooking nicely. The potatoes will absorb the oil and the flavours of the sauce and now you can add in the peas. Stir again. Cook until peas are fully cooked, just a few minutes.
- To serve, turn out onto a plate and serve with your desired accompaniments. I chose a few sprigs of fresh coriander from my balcony garden and some lovely cool slices of cucumber.
Variation: Serve with jasmine rice. Or, bundle everything up in a warmed wrap and add a little more Latasha’s Kitchen Green Coriander Sauce straight from the jar.
Coriander Flavoured Butter
For another idea, whip up this simple coriander flavoured butter and next time you need an easy peasy flavour sensation, it will thoroughly impress your guests!
Add 2 teaspoons Latasha’s Kitchen Green Coriander Sauce to 100 g of softened butter. Beat with a wooden spoon until creamy and well blended. Turn out onto plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape. Twist the ends to seal then refrigerate until needed. When ready to use, slice the coriander butter into discs and place atop a steak straight off the barbecue or frying pan. Or, serve with warm, crusty bread or over steamed vegetables.