Purchasing Coriander Seeds
Like most spices, coriander seeds should be purchased whole. Once ground, they begin to lose their robust flavor, much like a pricked balloon seeps out air. Be aware that coriander seeds and cilantro (the beloved and oft despised herb it produces) can both be referred to as coriander in Indian recipes and ethnic markets. (Not sure if that is something else to pin on the British?) Either way, do not substitute one for the other as their flavors are dramatically different. Coriander seeds are warm and nutty while cilantro has a fresh, slightly grassy taste.
Cooking with CorianderCoriander seeds are encased in a basket-like husk, which acts as a thickener in moist dishes, such as Sambar. For added texture when coating meat or fish, grind them roughly rather than pulverizing them into a powder. To heighten the seed’s flavor, dry roast them in a heavy bottomed pan before you grind them.
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