Friday, December 10, 2010

fresh, green and vomit-free!

I came late to the party as far as coriander (cilantro) is concerned.

To be honest I thought the herb smelt like vomit, so why would I want to taste it? The journey from outright disgust to tolerance of this plant has been a long one. It’s only in recent years that I’ve begun to embrace it. So to celebrate this newfound love, inspired by Christina’s wonderful post mid year, I’ve grown coriander for the first time.

Beyond the joy of being able to harvest a bunch of coriander fresh from the garden while knocking up some Asian delight, I’ve patiently waited for the plant to go to seed. In the past when annuals have bolted, I’ve felt a little melancholy. This time my excitement was palpable.

You see it’s the seed bearing umbels that really turn me on. So much of what I cook now begins with toasting and grinding coriander and cumin seeds. How perfect to harvest my own seeds to use after the plant has died? Then my mind sprung to the next logical conclusion, if dried seeds bring me so much olfactory joy, what about FRESH coriander seeds? How cool would they be to cook with?

For the past week I’ve battled torrential rain, the odd swarm of mosquitoes and fretted about locusts, just to harvest my new best friend. The first batch went mouldy, stupid really as I know all about drying herbs. Fortunately there’s been more bounty on the leggy, near dead, plant. My first foray into using my new love was to simply crush a head or two of seeds with the back of a large knife and adding them to a mid-week kedgeree. The seeds lifted the flavour, adding a fresh pungency to the spices.

Have you every cooked with fresh coriander seeds or have an inkling on how you’d use them?

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Blogger Ed Charles said...

What a great idea. I never thought of doing that and shall try it - when i have a garden again which is about a week away.

8:53 am  
Anonymous Lucy said...

I thought it tasted of dishwater to begin with, but now eat it as a salad leaf in HUGE quantities.

I ate one of your fresh seeds last night; you're right. It's soo delicious (spoken in my best Annabel Langbein voice).

Will post my pics when the film comes back. Now. If we get a field of them next year, how about a fresh coriander seed dukkah? Might be fun. And cumin? Can you grow that in order to harvest the fresh seeds, too.

Mind boggling. Mojo returning!!

9:57 am  
Blogger Cindy said...

They're so pretty! I can't wait to see how Lucy's captured them.

12:11 pm  
Blogger Johanna GGG said...

I'm not surprised that your seed went mouldy in this funny weather!

I still find fresh coriander tastes of soap but have got as far as appreciating it cooked in a stew

12:36 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Ed, it has tried my patience leaving the leggy coriander taking up a huge chunk of my precious garden space..but it's worth it. Good luck for your new home.

Lucy, I'm excited just imagining how you capture the seeds with blad. I've never seen cumin grow but if anyone can grow it here I reckon you can, can't wait to play with more fresh seeds with you. And yes a definite mojo activator!

Johanna and Lucy - soap is not far off. The herb contains a lot of saponins, am sure that's latin for soapy.


12:53 pm  
Blogger Delamonda said...

Some people have a genetic mutation which makes coriander taste like soap - My daughter and husband have it, so all my cilantro/coriander dishes must have the herb on the side.

So, those of you who taste this soapy taste will either have to get used to it, or else give it up - it's not your attitude, it's your tastebuds!

2:04 am  

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