A favorite herb that grows as the green leaves of the coriander plant that resemble a parsley-like green plant. Cilantro has a sharp distinctive flavor with a peppery taste that is very popular in Mexican and Asian food dishes. It is so popular in China that it is often referred to as Chinese parsley. Cilantro must be prepared as a fresh green because it loses its flavor when it is dried. It is best to add it to cooked dishes at the very end of the cooking process since the heat from cooking will cause the leaves to rapidly lose their flavor. Cilantro goes well with soups containing poultry or beans (especially lentils), with many Mexican and Asian food dishes, with tomatoes, spinach, egg dishes, and salsas.
This herb can be kept fresh for a few days after harvesting by wrapping the leaves in damp paper towels covered with plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator. It is a common seasoning in a variety of Mexican foods such as fish or salsa. Cilantro may be referred to as coriander, but coriander is actually the entire plant including the roots, leaves, and seeds. As the cilantro plant grows beyond the leaf greens it goes to seed, forming small fruits that are dried to become the coriander seeds for use as a popular seasoning.