Tag: cilantro

The Power of Cilantro

Cilantro in a glassI’ve been using cilantro in cooking for years. Growing up in the Southwest, it is easily accessible. I’ve always enjoyed the flavor, the smell, and the taste. What I did not know was the considerable health benefits linked to this one plant used as both herb and spice.

Cilantro, also known as fresh coriander and Chinese parsley, has been used in medicine and cuisines around the world for over 5,000 years. Thought to be one of the oldest cooking herbs, traces of the plant have been discovered in tombs in Egypt and an ancient cave in Israel. Cilantro provides a healthy dose of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and E. Reported health benefits include aiding digestive health and relieving anxiety. There is some research that indicates it can alleviate the food poisoning known as Salmonella. It can act as a preservative that helps prepared foods last longer. Combine it with citrus and the shelf life of salsa and other foods increase by 3-4 days. read more

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The Spice Road: Coriander

Coriander (seeds)Certain foods inspire strong reactions in people.  For example, many people either love or hate cilantro.  Its prevalence in salsas and Mexican sauces make it easily recognizable to most diners. On the other hand, coriander is more of a stealth ingredient, finding its way into many foods without inspiring such a strong reaction.  What many people don’t realize is that those cilantro leaves and stems come from the same plant as the spice known as coriander.

Coriander is the fruit or seed of the cilantro plant (also known as Chinese parsley). The seed is ground up and used as a base in curry pastes or “gravies.” It serves as a base ingredient in Mediterranean, Chinese, and Indonesian cooking. It sports a pungent fragrance and provides a deep, rich flavor to food. Cilantro, on the other hand, lighter but stronger, imparts a “lift” to any food it seasons. Recipes usually add cilantro at the end of a dish while coriander is added at the beginning. Oftentimes coriander is toasted and ground, and then mixed in with ginger and turmeric. Diners can easily see and recognize cilantro in a dish, which can trigger an immediate reaction, either positive or negative. Since coriander is one of the invisible spices, most people don’t even know they are eating it. read more

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Spicing up your Cuisine: Exploring the World of Spices


SpicesSpices make up the “palette” of a chef. They have a long and intriguing story of travel; how they spread out from a point of origin to all over the globe. Each culture treats these spices a little differently, yet there seems to be several common spices used in global cuisine.

Cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger make up the base of most Asian and South Asian cooking. Pick up any Indian cook book, and at least three of the four will be listed. The combination is the base of a “curry,” or gravy, that is made to compliment the food on the table. read more

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Watermelon as Gazpacho

Road trip food for a vegan can be challenging. Fortunately I have the skill set to pull off a pretty sweet cooler for traveling. Things that get packed before we slide out of town include, but are not limited to watermelon, jicama, oranges, hummus, carrot and celery sticks, tomatoes, olives, breads and tortillas, nuts and seeds, chips both potato and corn. This is just to get us started.

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Curry Leaves Found In Phoenix

curry leavesI’ve been all over the place. Local markets, Asian Markets, big stores, small stores, farmers markets. I’m looking for a local source for curry leaves and I can’t seem to find one. I was especially frustrated when I was told that they are an “oddity” and “exotic”.

Yes, the curry plant (Murraya Koenigii) is indigenous to India, and an essential ingredient in South Indian cooking . Why would I think any market in Phoenix would have them? Well, because I have found them here before. And we have a population of Indians, and a great South Indian Restaurant, Udapi Cafe. Wouldn’t there be a good local source for curry leaves? read more

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Cilantro Lime Dressing

Marinades can make all the difference in the way food tastes. A good Vinaigrette adds the necessary acids to balance flavors of vegetables and fruits. Mastering salad dressings will help in making you seem like a rock star chef to your friends and family.

Finding the delicate balance between sweet and sour is the challenge in making a good vinaigrette. Too much acidity, and it overwhelms the food, not enough, and it will fall flat.

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Books by Chef Johnna

  • Delectable Vegan Soups -------------------------------------------------------
  • Things Vegans Fry: Crunchy Comfort Food for Vegans

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