Fun Facts About Cilantro
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Cilantro or Coriander Leaf, is one of the more polarizing herbs out there, however, believe it or not, it is also one of the most widely eaten herbs in the world. It is super versatile and can be used as an ingredient or a garnish. The herb can be seen in various cuisines ranging from Indian, Mexican, Thai, Caribbean, Chinese, Latin, African, and eastern Europe. Most of us have that one good friend that either loves cilantro or hates it, I would be the one who loves it!! Turns out, according to research, it’s in the genes, some folks think it tastes like soap, not me!!
The cilantro leaf features dark green, smooth, hairless, soft leaves that vary in shape from broad-lobed at the base and slender, feathery higher up near its flowering tops. Its leaves and stem possess mildly citrus flavor.
Coriander seeds are tiny, yellowish-brown, round to oval with vertical ridges. They are used as a spice and have a flavor that is aromatic, sweet, and citrusy, but also a bit peppery.
Cilantro is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. The deep green leaves can actually aid in the reduction of your LDL or bad cholesterol. The leaves and stems also contain essential volatile oils and numerous antioxidants. Cilantro is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. The health benefits are numerous!
Some other fun facts,
– in Indian cuisine no dish is complete without a garnish of a bunch of cilantro, reason
being it is antibacterial in nature, and it does enhance the taste.
– Some folks claiming to know the secret recipe for Coca-Cola say that coriander seeds are the secret ingredient
– In Russia cilantro consumed in the form of juice or tea is known as a hangover drink, cilantro does aid in liver function.
Purchased or cut cilantro does not last very long in the refrigerator, especially if you do not store in water, so be sure to save it by freezing in ice cubes or just washed and frozen in freezer bags.
Here are some great recipes to try.
Quick Wonton Soup
6 cups chicken broth, low sodium
1, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced thin
1 clove mince garlic
20 mini frozen wontons
1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms
4 baby Bok choy, halved lengthwise and halved again
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Green onions, sliced for garnish
Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot.
Smash the sliced ginger with the side of a knife to bring out the flavor and add to the pot
with the garlic, cover and cook 5 minutes.
Add the Bok choy and partially cook 5 minutes, then add the frozen wontons and
mushroom, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until the wontons are heated through and Bok choy
is tender and wilted.
Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil.
Divide soup in four bowls. Garnish with fresh green onions.
Serves 2, each serving contains; Calories 136. Fat 2 g., Carbohydrates 22 g., Protein 9 g.
Creamy Cilantro Dressing or Sauce
2 cups cilantro leaves and stems about 1 small bunch
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream can sub with Greek Yogurt
3-4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeno, optional
Add all the ingredients to the food processor, season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a dressing bottle or air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Use on salads, tacos, burrito bowls, as a dipping sauce or on rice and grilled meats.
Yields 24 servings, each serving contains; Calories 238. Fat 16 g., Fiber 1 g.,
Carbohydrates 0 g., Protein 0 g., Sodium 6 g.
Cilantro Lime Chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp cumin
Freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, divided
½ bunch cilantro, divided
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, breasts, or tenders, about 1 ½ to 2 pounds
Combine the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill) in a small bowl.
Zest one of the limes and then squeeze the juice. You'll need 2-3 Tbsp juice, so if needed, juice half of the second lime. Cut the remaining lime into wedges to garnish the chicken once cooked.
Roughly chop the cilantro.
Add 1 tsp of the lime zest, 2-3 Tbsp of the lime juice, and half of the chopped cilantro to the marinade. Stir to combine. (The remaining cilantro will be added fresh after cooking the chicken.)
Place the chicken in a shallow dish or a large zip top bag. Add the marinade and toss the chicken to coat. Allow the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours (refrigerated), turning it once or twice as it marinates.
When ready to cook the chicken, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until well browned and cooked through. My chicken had enough of an oil coating from the marinade that I did not need to add any extra to the skillet.
Top the cooked chicken with more fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve with any extra lime wedges.
Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 136. Fat 2 g., Carbohydrates 3 g., Protein 23g.
Cilantro Spaghetti Squash
1 2 ½ to 3 pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
Lemon wedges for serving
Place squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place squash
halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degrees F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.)
Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into a medium bowl. Add cilantro, butter, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir to combine. Serve with shrimp, or chicken over the spaghetti squash with a lemon wedge on the side.
Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
1 cup long-grain rice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 cups water
½ teaspoon grated lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Lime wedges for serving
Rinse rice in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water, stirring with your fingers, until the water runs clear, about 1 minute.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the rice and garlic; cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add water and salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover; simmer, undisturbed, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add lime zest and lime juice, fluffing gently with a fork. Cover and let stand until fluffy, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Serve hot with lime wedges, if desired.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 225. Fat 5 g., Carbohydrates 40 g., Protein 4 g., Fiber 3 g.