Rating: NNNNNYou say "cilantro," and I say, well, "coriander," actually, but they're the same damn thing. In the past, authorities.

Rating: NNNNN

You say “cilantro,” and I say, well, “coriander,” actually, but they’re the same damn thing. In the past, authorities insisted that the leaves are cilantro while the seeds, a key component of curry powder, are coriander. This pungent and somewhat-soapy-to-some seasoning is common to Mediterranean-rim climes as well as Asian and Latin countries.

Controversy surrounds the way to store its fresh leaves, too. Until recently, I’ve always stored them standing upright in a glass of water in the fridge and lightly covered by a clear plastic bag. The other day there wasn’t room on the refrigerator shelf — all right, I was lazy — so I simply removed the bunch’s tie and threw the loose leaves into an unsealed plastic bag. They lasted twice as long!

Another discovery: never add coriander — or cilantro, if you insist — until the very end, as overcooking muddies its taste.


Here’s a truly pan-global recipe for Latvian potato latkes with a zesty Mexican twist. Peel and coarsely grate 4 large, scrubbed potatoes into a bowl. Add 1 lightly beaten egg, 1 medium chopped onion, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup fresh chopped coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Mix well. Pour canola oil into a large skillet to the depth of 1/4-inch, heat over medium and drop the potato mixture into the hot oil by tablespoonfuls. Don’t crowd the pan. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes per side until nicely browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve each topped with chunky salsa and a dollop of sour cream.

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