Coriander, cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania. Whatever you call it, it adds a flavour to your cooking that cannot be put into words. It turns an ordinary curry into an exquisite one. It completes a pot of steaming biryani.
It is an underrated herb used in much of Indian cooking and is full of health benefits too. The seeds as well as the vibrant green leaves are used in cooking. It is interesting to note that it was in fact the Romans that brought this herb over to Britain but struggled to sustain it as it would not grow in the wet and cold British climate.
It has since gained some popularity however as it is often brought over from warmer countries and now constitutes about a quarter of supermarket herb sales in the UK.
Coriander is full of iron and antioxidants too! It is also a good source of manganese, fibre, magnesium and vitamins C and K. It is also known to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) - key to a healthy lifestyle. It is also good for digestion, as it promotes liver function and has lots of fibre to keep the gut working healthily.
So how do you incorporate this wonder herb into your diet?
It can be used in a variety of different recipes to add a more earthy, warm flavour to a meal. Many use it in pesto, grinding the leaves down to a fine paste. In Indian cooking, coriander leaves and seeds are used greatly. The seeds are often powdered down and added to curries and pastes which form a basis of many Indian dishes. The leaves are often either used as a garnish, or in sauces and marinades. Take for example Zabardast’s coriander chutney, where the leaves are blended together with chillies and turned into a sauce that adds a refreshing punch to your wrap or salad. Chicken hari boti also uses the wondrous herb, as it is marinaded in a coriander, mint and chilli mixture and then barbecued before being chopped up into your wrap or salad box. If that isn’t enough, fresh coriander leaves are available to sprinkle onto your wrap before it is rolled up and toasted too!
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