Coriander – also known as cilantro, dhania, and Chinese parsley – is one of the cheapest, most flavourful, and widely grown herbs, the stems, leaves, and fruit (seeds) of which are used the world over as food and medicine. A good source of fibre, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron, coriander is also known to lower cholesterol levels and ease stomach disorders.
Available in all supermarkets in Oman for just about 100baisa a bunch, this herb flies off the shelves as soon as it arrives as it is a very popular ingredient in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Here are a few recipes which have coriander as the hero:
Lemon and Coriander Soup
1tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup finely sliced carrots
¼ cup finely chopped cabbage
¼ cup finely chopped spring onions
2tsp finely chopped green chillies
2tsp finely chopped garlic
1tsp grated ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped coriander
2tsp cornflour (dissolved in 2tbsp water)
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the stock
2tbsp chopped lemon grass
¼ cup coriander stems
2 green chillies – slit
Boil water in a pot, add lemon grass, coriander stems and green chilli. Let it boil for 4-5 minutes on low flame. Strain and keep stock aside. Now, heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan, add the garlic, ginger and green chillies and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds. Add onions and sauté on a medium flame. Then add the cabbage and carrots and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cornflour-water mixture, mix well. Add the coriander and further cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve the soup steaming hot.
Coriander Chicken Curry
¼ cup fresh mint
2-3 green chillies – slit
2 onions – sliced and
¼ cup cashew nuts
¼ cup almonds
½tsp black pepper powder
½tsp cardamom powder
tsp garam masala powder
2tsp coriander powder
1tsp lemon juice
1 cup yogurt
alt, to taste
750g chicken – cut to pieces
2-3 green cardamoms
2 bay l
1 cup sliced onions
1tbsp kasuri methi
Add coriander, mint, green chilli, fried onion, cashew nuts, almonds in a grinder with little water and grind to make a smooth paste. Mix chicken, green paste and the remaining marination ingredients in a bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the chicken for 2-3 hours.
Heat vegetable oil and ghee in a pan. Add cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom and bay leaf and let them crackle for a few seconds. Add onion and fry until onions are slightly browned. Now add the marinated chicken in the pan and cook for 5 minutes on high heat. Cover the pan and simmer the heat. Cook until chicken is softened. Sprinkl kasuri methi and mix well. Serve hot.
450g pasta (fettuccine or spaghetti)
Salt, to taste
6tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 large cloves garlic – finely chopped
2tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated zest from 1/2 small lemon
½ cup minced fresh coriander
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts/litres of water to a boil. Add 1tbsp salt, followed by the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain but reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant and tender, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes. Carefully add the reserved pasta cooking water in a slow stream, and simmer until water has reduced by about a third, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon table salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cooked pasta, and toss. Remove from heat and stir in coriander. Serve in plate and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Steamed Fish in Coriander Chutney
2 pomfrets – cleaned, kept whole
(can be replaced with kingfish steak, or any other)
2 cups fresh coriander leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
8 to 10 garlic cloves
2tsp minced ginger
3-4 green chillies – chopped
2tbsp white vinegar
½ cup water, or more if required
2 tbsp oil
Few pieces of banana leaves
(can be replaced with aluminium foil)
Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the marinade, add coriander leaves, mint leaves, vinegar, ginger, garlic and green chilies to a grinder jar and grind together. Add water, 1tbsp at a time, for easy blending. The mixture should be thick, not too watery.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the olive/vegetable oil to the marinade and mix well. Score the fish on both sides with a knife, season lightly with salt, and apply the coriander-mint marinade over the fish on both sides in a thick layer. Pack each fish in banana leaves to make a small parcel and fasten open ends with toothpicks. Place the packed fish on a steamer tray, on top of simmering water, cover and steam for 10 minutes. Then flip it over and steam for another 10 minutes. Remove and serve steaming hot with steamed rice.