Flavorful, aromatic, and fresh cilantro and coriander have been cooking companions for thousands of years in the culinary world. But is coriander the same as cilantro, or is cilantro the same as coriander? This is very common bafflement that most of us would have.
Cilantro and coriander both derive from the Coriandrum sativum plant. In the USA, the leaves and the stalks of this plant are known as cilantro, the seeds are known as coriander. At the same time, apart from the USA, they consider both the leaves, stalks as coriander and the dried seeds as coriander seeds.
So this article will further explain the differences and similarities between the two together with their uses and benefits when cooking. So, let’s get started.
Is Coriander The Same As Cilantro?
The terms “coriander” and “cilantro” are often confused by many as to not knowing if they are the same or two different ingredients.
Despite the names they are recognized, both come from the same plant- Coriandrum sativum. And, in fact, they are basically different parts of the same plant.
As aforementioned at the beginning of the article, the leaves and stalks of the Coriandrum sativum plant are known as cilantro, and the dried seeds are known as coriander in the USA. Meanwhile, in countries apart from the US, the leaves and stalks are known as coriander, and the dried seeds are known as coriander seeds.
However, although they both come from the same plant and differ in names, they have different uses when cooking. On top of everything, coriander seeds are referred to as a spice, while cilantro (the leaves and stalks) is considered an herb.
Background Story Of Cilantro And Coriander
Even though the leaves and stalks are known as coriander in some countries of the world, we can never see that the spice or the dried seeds are known as cilantro anywhere. In a nutshell, they are usually coriander seeds but are never called cilantro seeds.
Coriandrum sativum is a delicate annual that grows to approximately 2 feet tall with very well divided leaves. Cilantro (leaves and stalks) have a distinctive, pungent aroma. At the same time, coriander seeds are sweet and earthy with a floral scent that unleashes when toasted. And, coriander seeds are often used in cooking and baking as whole or ground.
Coriander seed, which is native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, was grown in ancient Egypt for culinary and therapeutic use and is mentioned in Sanskrit texts. However, the leaves are not broadly used in Europe, except in Portugal.
Moreover, cilantro leaves are more often used in Latin American and Southeast Asian cuisines. It is primarily used with meat and poultry, fish, seafood, soups, salads, and widely as a splendid garnish.
In the Middle East, fresh cilantro is a common herb, and it is often recognized as ‘Arab parsley’. All the parts of the Coriandrum sativum plant- the coriander deeds, leaves, and stalks are employed vastly in India. They use the coriander seeds in their most popular spice blend, garam masala, and in many other savory dishes like curries.
Cilantro leaves are a staple in their biryani pots, and they often add them fresh and chopped at the end of the biryani-making process. And also, cooks in Thailand use the roots in most of their curry-type dishes just like the Indians would do.
Since both derive from the same plant source, both of them have potential health benefits like reducing risk factors for heart diseases, reducing inflammation, regulating and lowering blood sugar levels, and providing support in fighting infections.
Coriander seeds and cilantro can be great flavor-enhancers in food. But what can you do if you run out of this flavoring or if you don’t like the taste of it? Well, click here to learn about the best coriander and cilantro substitutes that you can find in your kitchen.
Is Cilantro And Coriander Leaves The Same?
As we explained on top, cilantro and coriander both derive from the same plant known as Coriandrum sativum.
So, while in the USA, the leaves and stalks of this plant are known as cilantro, the other countries of the world, apart from the USA, referred to them as coriander.
Thus, clearly, cilantro and coriander leaves are the same, and they only differ in names depending on the countries.
Coriander Vs Cilantro -The Comparison
Now, the confusion you had between these two terms has already been cleared to some extent, and we hope further explanation about the culinary uses would help you to understand better.
Hence, refer to this comparison table down below to get things cleared more profoundly.
|Stems and leaves of the Coriandrum sativum plant are identified as coriander in other countries apart from the USA. At the same time, the dried seeds are coriander seeds.||The leaves and the stalks of the Coriandrum sativum plant are known as cilantro in the USA. Way fresher than the dried coriander seeds.|
|Coriander seeds are low in vitamins but high in minerals.||Contains high levels of vitamins and lesser minerals.|
|Coriander seeds possess 8.9% of water.||Fresh cilantro possesses 92.2% water.|
|Coriander seeds are sweet and earthy with a floral, nutty scent that unleashes when toasted. It pairs well with cinnamon and cumin.||It has a distinctive citrusy, refreshing flavor with a pungent fresh aroma.|
|Coriander seeds are available as a powder or as a whole in the market. But best bought as whole seeds.||It can be purchased as dried leaves or as fresh and aromatic leaves and stalks. But the dried leaves may not have a lovely intensity, freshness, or flavor as much as the fresh ones might have.|
Coriander And Cilantro Usage In Cooking
While many would have the problem with distinguishing between the two- cilantro and coriander, the next big question that many would have is when and how to utilize them with cooking.
Well, interestingly, coriander seeds are used in cooking as well as baking goods. But, in contrast, we do not usually see that cilantro has been employed in baking since it is used fresh most of the time.
Accordingly, coriander seeds can be used with versatility in various ways like:
- Dry meat rubs
- Rice dishes
- Soups and stews
- Seasoning mixes and spice blends
- Baked goods (cakes, puddings, biscuits)
Cilantro is basically used to make freshly made dishes and is also used as a garnish in many instances. Some of the dishes that made using cilantro are:
- Salad dressings
- Rice dishes
On your way to learning the differences and similarities of coriander and cilantro, would you like to take a moment to discover the incredible health benefits of coriander? We have a list of 9 of them, just click here!
Coriander and cilantro are famous as one of the most frequently confused food flavorings in the culinary world. So, as you see, clearing your perplexities as much as we can, both cilantro and coriander come from the same plant source- Coriandrum sativum.
In fact, the different parts of the same plant are recognized in two separate terms as cilantro and coriander. However, although the leaves and stalks of the Coriandrum sativum plant are known as coriander in other countries apart from the USA, the dried seeds are always coriander seeds but never referred to as cilantro or cilantro seeds.
Above all, cilantro and coriander seeds are different in taste and nutrition. And they are not usually used interchangeably due to their distinctive flavor profiles. But, both of them taste great when included in any dish they call for. So, we hope that this ultimate cilantro and coriander guide cleared the doubts you had so far, and now you can use both the flavorings appropriately!
How would you like to uncover how to use coriander seeds and cilantro in cooking? We have everything you need to know, just one tap away from here!