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 Coriander

 CorianderThis versatile plant has been used as a medicine and flavouring since ancient times.

Coriander is a member of the carrot and parsley family (it has a similar appearance to flat leaf parsley) and has long stems, compound leaves and small pink-white flowers.

It is native to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Both the leaves and seeds of the plant are used in cooking but they have very different flavours and are used in different ways.

Used widely in Asian, Oriental and Middle Eastern dishes, fresh coriander is becoming increasingly popular in Britain.

The leaves and roots have a strong and pungent flavour and an earthy taste. Coriander loses its flavour very quickly once cooked, so add it just before serving to maintain the maximum taste.

The seeds are used extensively in Indian cookery, often dry-fried with cumin seeds and then ground. Whole seeds are used in pork and chicken casseroles and in pickles and chutneys.

To gain the maximum flavour from coriander seeds it is best to dry-fry them.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan (without any oil), add the seeds and fry them over a medium heat, stirring frequently.

When a rich aroma is released, remove from the heat and cool. Use whole or crushed.

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