Coriander powder, seeds and leaves all have a flavour all of their own, despite all being from the same plant. As a powder and as a seed, this spice is often used in curries, roasts, soups and many savoury dishes, adding a complexity that works especially well in curry powder blends. As a leaf, coriander becomes a herb, adding a zesty flavour and a strong aroma to fresh foods as well as cooked foods. While each cannot truly be compared (that would not be unlike comparing apples and oranges), it is always good to know how best to use each version to get the most from coriander powder, seeds and leaves when cooking.
Rather than trying to compare, let’s take a look at how you can use each version in meals.
Coriander powder is finely ground whole coriander. When the seeds are ground, they release flavour and aroma. The ground version can be used in many different savoury dishes, working well in curries, soups, seasoning for meat and chicken, basting sauces, street food and various other dishes. To get the full flavour, it is best to buy in smaller quantities from a trusted spice specialist rather than letting the ground spice sit in a bottle for too long.
Coriander seeds are the dried seeds from the coriander plant. The exterior and interior of whole coriander are used to create ground coriander. Used whole, the flavour profile is a little different to the ground version. It can work very well to add more depth to your savoury dishes. When eaten, flavour is released, further enhancing the complexity of your meals.
Finally, coriander leaves (known as dhania in many areas and cilantro in the United States) have a very different taste to the seeds and powder. Fresh leaves are very strong in taste and scent - so much so that some people have an aversion to the herb. Most people, however, love the complexity that the leaves bring to a range of dishes.
Which version do you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments whether you prefer coriander powder, seeds or leaves.
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