Food - Drink
Cilantro Vs. Coriander: What’s The Difference?
By HEATHER LIM
What is Cilantro?
Cilantro and coriander are often confused because in other countries, the leafy herb is known as coriander, after its Latin name Coriandrum Sativum. In the U.S. it is known as cilantro, the Spanish word for “coriander leaves,” and as the name implies, cilantro refers to the zesty leaves that garnish many dishes.
What is Coriander?
In the States, "coriander" refers to cilantro seeds. Coriander seeds are similar to white peppercorns in appearance and size, but with a beige tint. Unlike their leafy counterpart, the seeds have a flavor between cumin, fennel seeds, and black pepper, and are much less offensive to those who taste soap when they eat cilantro.
Nutritional Differences
While both cilantro and coriander have antioxidant effects on the body, they have different nutritional profiles. Cilantro leaves are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, but they lack minerals. On the other hand, coriander seeds are mostly made of minerals and contain 16 times more fiber than cilantro.
Best Uses
Cilantro is best used in its raw, fresh state, and is commonly found in Southeast Asian and Mexican cuisine as a refreshing garnish that adds an herby zest to any dish. Coriander is spicy and nutty rather than zesty and is used to add complexity to spice blends and stews found in Indian, African, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Substitutions
Substituting coriander for cilantro would be the equivalent of using cumin for parsley, so it’s not recommended. Basil and parsley can be substituted for cilantro, while cumin, fennel seeds, anise, or nutmeg can be used instead of coriander. Just remember to double-check whether your recipe is referring to the seed or the leaf.