Coriander and cilantro are two commonly confused terms, and with good reason: these words refer to different parts of the same plant. This is true at least in North America. In other parts of the world, however, people use the “coriander” indistinctly, which only adds to the confusion.
In North America, “cilantro” refers to the leaves and stalk of the plant Coriandrum sativum. You probably have consumed cilantro in Latin American, Indian, or Chinese dishes (in fact, the plant is also known as Chinese parsley). For example, the small green leaves you may have noticed in guacamole are what we know as cilantro.
The dried fruits of this plant are known as coriander, a spice used in sausages, curries, Scandinavian pastries, English dishes, and some French liquors such as Chartreuse and Izarra.
Don’t Use Coriander and Cilantro Interchangeably
This plant has a long history. For example, Romans placed coriander seeds under their pillows when they had headaches and also used them to flavor bread.
So, while they are closely related, cilantro and coriander are different products that add completely different flavors to your food, so they are not to be used interchangeably. If you ever follow a recipe that calls for coriander, make sure to understand whether the author is referring to the stalk/leaves of the plant or the seeds.
The differences between cilantro and coriander extend to their respective nutrient profiles. Cilantro is higher in vitamin K and A, while coriander is rich in manganese, magnesium, calcium, and copper.
Learn More Interesting Food Facts
At Chef Gourmet we know good food, and we love to share that knowledge with you. These are some previous posts with interesting facts and stories about some of the world’s most iconic foods and products.
- What is Purple Rice?
- A culinary history of pineapple
- Basmati, The Prince of Rice
- How Tomatoes Conquered the World
- Soba Noodles: Everything You Need to Know
- Marinara: the Story Behind the Legendary Italian Sauce
- The stories behind 5 curious types of tacos
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