I was formally introduced to coriander for the first time through Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals” episode covering a version of chicken tagine. I had never heard of a tagine, or coriander (although I was familiar with the same plant’s leaves, cilantro)… but it was Rachael Ray. I went out and promptly bought some of the spice, pre-ground. On opening the jar, my nose proclaimed the sweet, lemony scent a winner. I started putting the powder on a wide variety of foods, some good ideas, most not so much. Sprinkling ground coriander over sushi, for example, remains one of my more spectacular failures. However, oatmeal, vanilla ice cream, and couscous ended up delicious. Baked goods of all kinds also benefit from coriander: apple pie, blueberry muffins, sugar cookies, and zucchini bread, just to name a few.
To save you the trouble of experimenting, try adding coriander to these dishes the next time you make them:
1. Your Favorite Stir-Fry with Garlic & Ginger — about 2 teaspoons should do the trick. Toss it in right before the dish is finished; the garlic highlights the coriander particularly well. Personally, I like shrimp stir-fry the best, but tofu works just as well.
2. Quick Yogurt Sauce with Honey & Lime — use a tablespoon for every 2 cups of yogurt. Throw in a couple dashes of lime juice and mix with honey to taste. The sauce tastes great spooned over berries, or stir some into a handful of your favorite granola for fast snack.
3. Turkey Burgers — trust me! Try adding 1 ½ teaspoons of coriander, some freshly chopped parsley, and cracked black pepper to your ground turkey. The burgers gain a bright, summery taste that will please the taste buds of the young and old alike.
4. Risotto — use a teaspoon of the spice, and stir it in with about 5 minutes of cooking time left. I’ve found that a few stalks of sautéed asparagus, chopped and served over the risotto, make a tasty presentation for someone worth impressing.
Before I give my final tip, allow me to share a story. In one of my more brilliant moments, I obtained some coriander seeds and ground them myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t consider how peppercorn-like they would be in dishes. What I mean, is that the little chunks of seeds retained their texture in most of the recipes I made. I discovered that by braising the cracked seeds, I got much more favorable results. I experimented and came up with a variation on my mom’s Dried Apricot Chicken.
5. Dried Apricot Chicken — I find that using fresh apricots yields mushy and unattractive results. The quartered dried apricots keep their shape and color through the cooking process and just look prettier on the plate. As an added bonus, the dried apricots have far less sugar than a regular jar of preserves. Try this recipe and amaze your friends:
- 1 ½ – 2 pounds of Chicken, cubed
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup diced Onion
- 2 tsp minced Garlic
- ½ cup diced Red Bell Pepper
- 1 ½ cups Chicken Broth
- 1 cup chopped Dried Apricots
- ¼ tsp ground Ginger
- 2 tsp Spicy Mustard
- 2 tsp cracked Coriander seeds
- Salt & Pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, arrange the chicken cubes in a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with olive oil and cook the chicken until well done. Remove from pan, and add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat until the garlic starts to turn golden. Return the chicken to the pan, along with the chicken broth and remaining ingredients. Bring the dish to a boil over high heat while stirring, and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the dried apricots begin to plump. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve over couscous or brown rice.
-Guest Writer Tiffany Kajer Wright (TKW)