Question: What is coriander? Is it a spice or an herb?
Coriander can refer to both an herb and a spice
Answer: Coriander can refer to both an herb and a spice. Although the term coriander is used in much of the world in reference to both cilantro leaves and seeds, in the Americas, it generally refers to the dried cilantro seeds which are used as a spice both in whole form and ground. Coriander seeds have a bit of a spicy, citrus flavor and are available in the spice aisle of most markets.
You will need to pay special attention to the recipe instructions as well as to how the ingredient is listed to determine whether the author intends the seeds or the leaves to be used in the recipe.
Coriander is one of the oldest herbs and spices on record. Coriander was mentioned in the Bible, and the seeds have been found in ruins dating back to 5000 B.C. Its name comes from the Greek word koris, meaning a stinky bug. This is likely a reference to the strong aroma given off by the cilantro plant leaves when they are bruised.
More about Cilantro and Cilantro Recipes:
- Cilantro and coriander cooking tips
- Cilantro and coriander storage and selection
- What is cilantro? FAQ
- Is culantro the same as cilantro?