Is coriander the same thing as cilantro?
The short answer is, yes. Coriander is a culinary herb (Coriandrum sativum) that’s also known as cilantro, especially in the Americas. It’s a member of the carrot family — its relatives include caraway, cumin and fennel.
Coriander refers to the seeds of the plant, which are dried and used whole or ground into a powder that has a warm, nutty flavor and citrusy aroma that makes it suitable for both sweet and savory dishes. Cilantro refers to the leaves of the plant, which are fresh and have a bright, citrusy flavor with hints of mint and sage.
Coriander is a herb that is well known by many people. Many people use the word Coriander and Cilantro interchangeably when talking about this herb. However, the two are not one and the same.
Coriander is actually the seed of the plant that becomes Cilantro. The leaves of the plant are called Cilantro and the seeds are dried and known as Coriander seeds.
When you buy fresh Cilantro at the grocery store or your local market, you can use it fresh in many dishes or freeze it to use later. You can also dry it to be used as an herb in cooking later.
Here’s a question I get asked by skeptical Coriander users all the time:Is coriander really cilantro?
The answer is yes. And no.
You see, what most Americans know as “coriander” is actually the seed of the cilantro plant, which is also known as Chinese parsley. It’s also called dhania in Hindi and kothambari soppu in Kannada. Confused? Don’t be! Just keep reading this post to learn more about this popular herb.
Coriander seeds are light brown in color and have a lemony citrus flavor when crushed; they are commonly found in Indian cooking. The leaves of the cilantro plant are commonly called fresh coriander in Britain, and they have a completely different taste from the seeds. The leaves have a different flavor that some describe as similar to sage or a stronger version of parsley.
(Fun fact: Did you know that coriander seeds were found in the tombs of Tutankhamen? They were used for their medicinal properties!)
Many people use the terms coriander and cilantro interchangeably. Some people think that coriander is the seeds of cilantro, but in fact they are two different plants with two different tastes and uses. Coriander refers to the round, tan-colored seeds from the Coriandrum sativum plant. You can buy these seeds whole or ground, and you’ll find them in most grocery stores. Cilantro refers to the leaves of this plant – it’s also known as Chinese parsley or fresh coriander.
The taste and aroma of coriander is slightly citrusy and sweet, while cilantro has a fresh, green taste and aroma.
Coriander seeds are used in Indian, Middle Eastern, North African and Asian cooking. They are often found in curry blends, chili powder, garam masala spice blends and baked goods like breads and desserts. We love using both whole or ground coriander when we make dishes like our Curried Cauliflower Soup with Coriander Yogurt & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Lemon-Coriander Vinaigrette.
Cilantro is widely used in Mexican cuisine (think salsas), but it is also popular around the world. You
If you’re shopping for coriander seeds, you might be surprised to find a packet with the name ‘cilantro.’ Or if you choose to buy cilantro seeds, you may be confused by the word ‘coriander.’ Here’s why: Coriander and cilantro are simply two different parts of the same plant. Both are products of the same plant that is called Coriandrum sativum in Latin or Chinese parsley in English. The plant grows to about 3 feet in height, with lacy leaves and umbrella-shaped clusters of tiny white flowers. The leaves can have a strong odor, but when crushed and dried, they also serve as a spice.
The parts of the plant used as herbs and spices are the green leaves (cilantro), stems, and roots (coriander). The dried seeds from cilantro are called coriander seeds.
Cilantro is commonly used in Mexican salsa and guacamole as well as Thai green curry. It is also used in India and Southeast Asia in both curries and soups.
The flavor of cilantro is described as being citrusy or lemony and slightly bitter. Some people say it tastes like soap or
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) and cilantro are the same plant. They come from the same species, Coriandrum sativum, and are therefore two names for the same plant.
What happens is that the leaves of Coriandrum sativum are called cilantro in the United States and other parts of the world, while its seeds are called coriander in England. The reason behind this is lost in history. It is believed that the word “cilantro” comes from a Greek word meaning “bed bug”. It is believed that this is because cilantro has a smell like bed bugs. In contrast, coriander refers to a Sanskrit word meaning “caterpillar”.
The reason why coriander and cilantro refer to different parts of Coriandrum sativum is because these two parts have different uses. The leaves (cilantro) are used as a herb in cooking, especially in Mexican cuisine, while the seeds (coriander) are used as a spice, not just in North America but all over the world.
The difference between coriander and cilantro can lead to confusion with other plants which also have similar names or characteristics. For example:
I was asked in an interview recently what my worst quality is. I didn’t have a good answer, so I just said, “I’m not sure.”
I’ve thought about it since, though. I think one of my worst qualities, if not the worst, may be that I am very gullible.
Partly this is because I’m very trusting, and sometimes it’s hard for me to tell when someone is lying to me or trying to trick me. Partly it’s because my brain seems to work differently from most other people’s brains–I assume that everyone else has the same weird gaps in their knowledge that I do, and so when someone starts talking about something unfamiliar to me, it takes me a while to realize that this must be common knowledge that everyone else knows but me. (This has caused problems for me more than once.) Partly it’s because when I’m presented with something new, my first instinct is always to try to understand it and make sense of it rather than immediately assume that there must be something wrong here.
But partly it’s just general foolishness–when people try to trick me by telling me something incredibly unlikely or obviously false, there are a lot of times when I believe them anyway.