Try not to think about the origins of coriander’s name as you add the dried seeds liberally to curries and a host of other dishes: the ancient Greeks called it “koriannon” after koris (a smelly bug), the Roman author and botanist Pliny noting its "buggy" aroma and possibly also the young seed’s resemblance to a certain bed-loving insect.
The dried, almost spherical, ridged seeds have a mild, warm, nutty taste with citrus notes, quite different to the "soapy" character of the herb, which is either loved or loathed. Dried coriander is sold whole, roughly or finely ground, the seeds varying in appearance depending on origin: Indian coriander (dhania), for instance, is larger, light brown and suitable for curries, while European coriander is smaller, with a sweet citrus character.
In India, ground coriander acts as both a flavouring and thickener in a wide range of dishes, including sambhar and rasam. It’s a key flavour in Arab cooking; in hot meat or vegetable dishes; mixed with cumin for falafel; roasted and crushed with sesame seeds, hazelnuts, cumin, salt and pepper for dukka; or with garlic for Taklia; and in spice blends, including harissa. In Western cuisines, it features in pickling and in sausages, such as Italian mortadella, South African boerewors and English black pudding. In some countries, including India, the seeds are eaten as a snack.
Use coriander in ...
curries and curry pastes, soups, casseroles, chutneys, sauces, dips, rubs, in smoking and pickling, sausages, breads, Chantilly cream for fruit desserts and in ginger cake. Rub into fish or chicken before frying or grilling, or add to dusting flour. The seed is best bought whole and is easy to grind. Ground coriander should be stored in an opaque airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Coriander goes with ...
chicken, pork, ham, beef, lamb, fish, seafood, chickpeas, lentils, rice, couscous, onion, garlic, ginger, corn, tomato, orange, avocado, coconut, carrot, sweet potato, chilli, dried fruit, basil, mint, sesame seeds, nuts, apples, stone fruit, honey, cream.