Tag: coriander

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

Read More

How to Name Recipes? Eggplant Mung bean Drumsticky Stuff?

Vegetables for Eggplant & Mungbean Stew

 There has been an abundance of eggplant here in the Valley of the Sun, so I thought I’d make a vegetable dish without using the cookbook. I followed steps I’ve learned, toasting the seed spices, soaking tamarind, and stacking flavors. I found a name for this recipe, and I think I like it. Let me know if you do.

You are probably wondering how to find some of the ingredients I use in this recipe. I have the advantage of having a Vietnamese Grocer several blocks from the house. I can buy some of the specialty items there, split mung beans and eggplant especially. For the bulk spices I go to the Herbalist down the street. They carry a decent supply of fresh herbs and spices. Their cumin is fantastic. When I need to find the exotic, there is a super chain called LeeLees that specializes in International foods. They have a great produce section as well as a selection of the Indian Spices I use. If you can’t find some of these ingredients in your market, check online, there are several reputable companies with reasonable prices. read more

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Smoked Tofu and Veggies with “Magic” sauce

The other night I came home from work and was really tired. Still, I had to get dinner on the table. I had one can of coconut milk left on the shelf. In the refrigerator there were some left-over diced veggies, smoked tofu, and rice. I have a well stocked pantry, so I gathered up some spices, and went to work. And I came up with Smokey Tofu and Veggies, with Magic Coconut Sauce.

Read More

This Week’s Experiment: Pickles

pickles_01 (1003x1280)It is Springtime and that means pickling cucumbers are in abundance at the markets. Lots and lots of pickling cucumbers, on sale. Everywhere. Lately, I’ve been contemplating pickling, but I don’t own a canning system. You know, the pot, the rack, the tongs. Hopefully this is something that might be in my future, but for now, it’s about figuring out how to make pickles without all the gear.

An online search revealed a breakdown of a Kosher Dill Pickle recipe over at David Lebovitz’ blog It is his recap on Arthur Scharwtz’s Homemade Kosher Pickles. Looked easy enough, and only involves fermenting, not canning. read more

Read More

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

Read More

Books by Chef Johnna

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

Support this website by donating the cost of a magazine or a cup of coffeee.