The spicy aroma flavors found in most of the dishes is the trademark of the Indian cuisine. The Indian food is flavored with different type of spicy ingredients which include a variety of herbs and spices. The basic Indian spices are cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander seeds, chili powder, mustard seeds and asafetida etc.
One of the basic spices used in Indian food is coriander. It is the seed of the cilantro plant and is also known as cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania.
It is used as fresh green leaves, in seed form or in powder form. The seeds look like tiny, pale, creamy-brown peppercorns.
When they are dry-fried, the seeds have a stimulating, slightly burnt orange aroma which is very pleasing their scent and flavour is lemony, with a hint of sage. The seeds should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place, in airtight containers. Coriander powder losses its aroma very fast, so it is always best to grind the seeds as per the requirement.
The ground seeds have a pleasing, mild and sweet taste that is enticing. Every Indian household uses huge quantities of ground coriander in curry powders, garam masala and a variety of other spice mixtures. Whole or ground seeds are used in chutneys. Coriander seeds contain many plant derived chemical compounds that have anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties
Its powder is used in baked goods like cakes and cookies and also in spicy foods like curries because its taste has a hint of cloves as well as pepper.
Coriander seeds and cumin seeds are often combined together, dry-fried and then ground (dhania-jeera powder) to form a powder. The strong, spicy, sweet aroma of cumin when combined with the flavor of coriander in a dish, lends a lovely fragrance to the recipe. It is an excellent blend and this combination is one of the essential spice blends used in Indian cuisine.
- Coriander helps in proper digestion of food.
- The seeds have low cholesterol properties.
- It increases appetite and relieves indigestion, flatulence, nausea and diarrhea.
- It helps to increase the body circulation and relieves the fluid retention.
- It works as an appetite stimulant, which helps in the secretion of gastric juices in the body.
- Coriander seeds are a rich source of vitamin C.
- They are a storehouse for many vital vitamins and minerals.
Uses of coriander
- Coriander is used in almost every Indian recipe.
- It is used in sweet as well as spicy dishes of Indian cuisine.
- It is the basic ingredient for a variety of gravy and curry recipes.
- The coriander powder is used to flavor barbecue, grills and tandoori items.
- It is an essential item for making vegetarian, non-vegetarian and tofu recipes.
- It is used for marinating meat, chicken, fish and prawns.
- Dhania jeera powder is used for sprinkling over salads, fruit chaats, buttermilk or plain curd. It is also added in pickles, curries and chutneys.
Therefore, coriander plays an essential role in the Indian cookery. Very few recipes can be imagined without the use of coriander powder or the seeds.