Coriander is an umbrella-shaped plant, an annual herbaceous plant, which produces large umbrella-like inflorescences, reminiscent of those of anise, made up of small white flowers. The leaves, very aromatic, are similar to those of celery or parsley, although the aroma emanating from them is less intense and tends to be slightly spicy.
This plant is of Mediterranean origin, and was used already in Egyptian times in the kitchen; nowadays the use of coriander in the kitchen has extended to the whole world, in particular it is a very popular aroma in India.
Of the coriander we use in particular the fresh, or dried, leaves and the seeds, contained in the small spherical fruits.
The foliage, as we said, is very aromatic, and fresh is used as parsley, to flavor meat and vegetables; these aromatic and palatable leaves are also used for direct consumption, in salads or to enrich sauces and soups.
Coriander - Coriander sativum: Coriander cultivation
The small seeds have a woody consistency, when chewed they give off an intense aroma.
Whole are used to flavor meats, sauces, and even sweets and candies; in Europe they are widely used especially for this purpose, in fact it is easy to find small spherical candies on the market that contain a single coriander seed at their center.
In the east the coriander seeds, together with the dried foliage, are used pulverized, to constitute a widely used spice.
These candies were formerly called confetti, and were used as the current paper confetti, during the carnival celebrations.
In Europe coriander was used much more in ancient times, while in the last few centuries its use has been lost. Only recently are they rediscovering their culinary qualities, and we can find more and more recipes that contain fresh coriander leaves, used with or instead of parsley.