Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also commonly called cilantro, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to southwestern Asia and west to north Africa.
All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the most commonly used in cooking. Coriander is commonly used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian, Latin American, Chinese, African and Southeast Asian cuisine.
The leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves, cilantro (in the United States, from the Spanish name for the plant), dhania (in the Indian subcontinent, and increasingly in Britain). The leaves, and especially the stems, have a very different taste from the seeds, similar to parsley but "juicier" and with citrus-like overtones.
The dry fruits are known as coriander seeds or coriandi seeds. In some regions, the use of the word coriander in food preparation always refers to these seeds (as a spice), rather than to the plant itself. The seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed, due to the presence of the terpenes linalool and pinene. It is also described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavoured. They are usually dried but can be eaten green.
Coriander roots are used in a variety of Asian cuisine. They are commonly used in Thai dishes.
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