Sunday, February 05, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging #18

It's strange how the palate changes as we age. Perhaps Life teaches us that unless we try something firsthand, we'll never really know if we like it or not. Before I met C six years ago, I would never go near a raw oyster or century egg. But thanks to his coaxing, I now cannot imagine how I ever passed on those two wonderful foods. It's the same thing with coriander. Until recently, I would painstakingly pick out every last leaf or stem in the dishes that greeted me on any given table. And being Asian, you can imagine how many coriander-infused dishes have crossed my dinner plates' path. Thankfully, things have changed. In the last two years, I've begun to appreciate the robustness that coriander bestows upon the dishes it anoints. For the longest time, I never realised that coriander root is the base for countless Asian dishes including my favourite laksa. And while I still tend to hesitate before eating whole coriander leaves, I certainly won't pick them out of the dish either. I've also developled a taste for pureed coriander, like in coriander pesto for example. One of my favourite dishes these days is Grilled Coriander and Chilli Prawns, which I devour with abandon, cholesterol level be damned.

To make those, simply pile a super large handful of coriander leaves and stems in a food processor with two or three fresh red or green chillies, a thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, two garlic cloves and a pinch of salt. Blitz it and mix in a spoonful or two of softened, unsalted butter. Then get the biggest, baddest prawns you can find, peel the shell off its middle and make a cut down the middle (but not all the way through). Now pull of the flesh sideways so that it gapes and then whack of teaspoonful of the coriander mix in. Now grill for about 10 minutes or until the prawns are cooked. Yum scrum; don't count on stopping at one!

I am also pleased to report that my once fledgling coriander plant is now a flourishing adult, giving me yet more excuses to experiment with this wonderful herb that Asians have used for centuries.

To end off, here are a few coriander facts that I recently discovered:

Coriander goes by many names: cilantro, Chinese parsley, or its scientific term, Coriandum Sativum. According to Rhonda Parkinson, the word coriander is used to describe the entire plant: leaves, stems, seeds, and all. However, when speaking of coriander, most people are really referring to the spice produced from the seeds of the plant. The leaves of the plant are commonly called cilantro, which is derived from the Spanish word for coriander.

Indeed, every day we learn something new. Hope you all had a good weekend and thanks Kalyn for hosting Herb Blogging Weekend once again!


Anonymous mumu said...

Just a few minutes ago I was searching for a recipe that'll use my leftover pistachios from CNY and I decided on one for coriander and pistachio pesto! I can never understand why this herb is so misunderstood by many, because I love it. I think it adds great flavour to any dish. :-)

8:07 pm  
Blogger Kalyn said...

Hey, welcome back. I am so jealous of your plant. I simply haven't been able to grow this at all. I think in Utah it just gets too hot and dry too quickly. The plant just goes to seed and dies. The coriander prawns sound divine.

11:05 pm  
Blogger MM said...

That dish sounds amazing and just my kind of thing! Yums! So envious of your coriander plant. Almost tempts me to try to grow one except that I have a purple thumb. Sigh.

3:17 pm  
Blogger shaz said...

hey, thanks for dropping by my blog. I left a comment to your question. great picture with the prawns. they look too adorable to eat!

10:19 pm  
Blogger eatzycath said...

love that pot of coriander, you must be one of those truly rare persons who actually keep a coriander plant in Singapore .. is it difficult at all?

7:34 pm  
Blogger Eggy said...

Hi mumu, coriander & pistachio pesto sounds divine!

mm, until this batch of herbs, i've had black fingers. I say give it a shot.

Cath, it was super easy! I just bought a pack of seeds from the hardware store and strewn them on damp soil. Next thing i knew, they grew! You should try it.

11:06 pm  
Blogger Gourmetish said...

Wow. Your cilantro looks 10 thousand times better than mine (did). The sun in San Diego is too strong and seems to kill it everytime I buy it. Any advice?

7:35 pm  
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3:35 pm  

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