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October 2000 Issue
Coriander -- coriandrum sativum
by Rossana S. Tarantini
Table of Contents | Single-page view

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Couscous and Coriander Salad

  • 3/4 cup precooked couscous
  • juice of half an orange
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 2 oranges
  • a 3 inch piece of cucumber
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 eggs, hard cooked, peeled and quartered
  • 1 can of anchovy fillets, drained and halved lengthwise
  • 12 black olives
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • coriander for garnish
For the dressing:
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • juice of half an orange
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • large pinch of coriander seed
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Line a strainer with cheesecloth, rinse the couscous, drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

Mix together the orange juice, olive oil and chopped coriander and season well with salt and pepper. Pour over the couscous and mix well. Pour the boiling water over the grains and stir gently as they swell. When all the water is absorbed, transfer to a large serving dish.

Peel and slice the oranges. Thinly slice the cucumber and arrange the cucumber and orange over the couscous, then arrange the tomato and egg wedges, the anchovies and the olives. Sprinkle with the pine nuts cover and chill.

To make the dressing, combine the yogurt, orange juice, garlic, oil, chopped coriander leaves and ground coriander seed and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Dress the salad with the dressing and serve garnished with coriander sprigs.

  • Yields: 6 - 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 30 minutes excluding chilling time


Steamed Halibut with Cilantro

Serve this accompanied by steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables.
  • 4 halibut fillets or steaks
  • a large bunch of fresh cilantro
  • a one inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
To garnish:
  • fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 2 green onions sliced on the diagonal
To serve:
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
Make a couple of slashes across both sides of each halibut fillet or steak. Line the bottom of a bamboo steamer with half the cilantro and a few slices of green onion and ginger. Put the fish on top and cover with more green onion and ginger and the remaining cilantro. (If there isn't room to put the fish in one single layer in the steamer, use a double-tiered steamer or steam in batches, keeping the cooked fish warm.) Cover the steamer and put it over a pan of simmering water. Steam until tender. As a rough guide, cook the fish for ten minutes for each inch of thickness, measuring the fish at its thickest point.

Remove and discard the cilantro, green onions and ginger and transfer the halibut to a warmed serving dish. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and slices of green onion and put the soy sauce in a small bowl for dipping. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes


Stir-Fried Zucchini with Herbs and Spices

This is great as an accompaniment to curried poultry, fish or veal.
  • 750gr zucchini, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp chicken stock or hot water
Sprinkle the zucchini with salt lightly, place in a colander and leave to drain for thirty minutes then pat dry with paper towel.

Heat a wok and add the oil allowing it to heat till almost smoking. Add the curry leaves and cook for one to two minutes, until they brown, then add the green onion, garlic, ginger and coriander.

Stir-fry over high heat for one to two minutes.

Add the zucchini and stir-fry for two minutes more over gentle heat. Add the soy sauce and stock and cook for one minute further. Turn into a warm serving dish and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes


Coconut Cilantro Relish

This relish makes an ideal accompaniment to spicy foods and cold meat platters.
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 /12 cups grated fresh coconut (or grate the flesh of one coconut weighing 10 to 12 oz)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro leaves
Put all the ingredients except the cilantro into a saucepan with 2/3 cup of water and simmer over medium to low heat, covered for about 50 minutes, until the mixture becomes syrupy. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the cilantro.

If you're making this to keep, transfer it to sterilized jars once it's cooled and seal. Store in the fridge and use within one month.

  • Yields: about 1 pound
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes


Cilantro Salsa

This is great served as a dip with tortilla or corn chips.
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3 small shallots or 1 small onion roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh red chili, seeded and chopped finely
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process for about 10 seconds so there is still a bit of texture. Transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Cool and serve.
  • Yields: about 1 cup
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Coriander is one of those herbs that seems to invoke extreme reactions -- people either love it or hate it. Personally I think it's wonderful, but you'll have to make your own judgment.

See you next month. We have a special treat in store for you.


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