Cilantro has got to be one of the quintessential ingredients in Thai food. It is a very fragrant herb that goes well in many dishes. In Thailand, you will find this herb to be under a different name – coriander. Not only does it go by a different name, the root is always attached and used in Thai cooking as well. It is unfortunate that here, in the States, the root is quickly discarded and we are none the wiser.
The picture above is from my Thailand photo archives. It shows the coriander with the root and all. The root is full of intense flavor and is often times muddles with garlic and chilies as the base of many Thai dishes. I have asked my local farmer’s markets if they ever see the cilantro (as we are used to calling it) with the root on and on numerous occasions I have been told during the fall. I will be sure to keep my eyes open and if what they tell me is true, I will buy it all up and freeze the root for a rainy day!
If you have ever had pad thai, larb, or Thai noodle soup you have eaten yummy cilantro. It is also sometimes served with other herbs as a palate cleanser of sorts, or to compliment what you are eating.
When choosing cilantro, you want to make sure all the leaves are a bright green. You do not want to see any yellow or brown leaves. If your bunch has a couple, don’t fret. Just pick those ones off before using.
I discovered this great way to store my cilantro so it lasted. I rinse the bunch of cilantro under cold water. Then trim the ends off and put into a small glass with about 1/2 inch of water.
And, as funny as it may seem, put a plastic storage bag over the bunch and keep refrigerated. This will keep your cilantro fresh. When I buy cilantro, it doesn’t usually last very long because I tend to use it up quite fast. There are so many delicious applications for this wonderful herb. If you read my blog on skirt steak, you would have read about a delicious cilantro sauce for any grilled meat.
Cheers and happy eating!