and ginger hummus.
Bible, the manna that fell from heaven to feed the
Israelites on their journey out of Egypt was described as
being like coriander seeds.
put it another way, the seeds of the cilantro plant.
plant. Two names.
is commonly known as cilantro are the leaves and stems of
the plant; the seeds, which have a completely different
taste, are called coriander.
thatís just in America. Throughout Europe, the whole plant
is generally referred to by some variation on coriander (koriandr
in Czech, coriandolo in Italian). But itís cilantro in
Mexico and Spain.
Mandarin Chinese, itís yuen sui and in Vietnamese itís
ngo. Which proves the worldwide popularity of this plant.
yet, it was little known in America just 40 years ago.
closely resembles Italian flat-leaf parsley in appearance
but has a much brighter, fresher taste and an intoxicating
aroma (though some people, for genetic reasons, canít
stand it). It can be used in any kind of savory dish, from
soups to salads to entrees ó while the seed, coriander, is
even good in baked goods and desserts.
is really only one rule to remember when cooking with
cilantro: It loses its potent flavor quickly when exposed to
heat, so it is always best to add it in the last few minutes
three different dishes featuring cilantro, and not one of
them involved adding cilantro in the last few minutes of
cooking. Call me a rebel.
the dishes uses cilantro only as part of an uncooked sauce,
adding its vibrant green color as well as its clean taste.
The cilantro is the primary ingredient in a chimichurri, a
South American sauce usually made instead with parsley.
with the cilantro. When blended with garlic, peppers, lime
juice, vinegar and olive oil, it becomes a multi-purpose,
one-size-fits-all sauce that goes with many other dishes
(rice, pasta, potatoes) beyond the traditional grilled meat.
it with grilled meat. Call me a traditionalist ó one of
those rebel traditionalists you hear so much about these
the meat I used was kind of untraditional. I made lamb chops
that I marinated in a Chinese marinade and rubbed with a
spice mix drawing elements from India or Mexico.
delicious. The simple marinade brought out the natural
flavor of the lamb, which was then accented by the heady
spice mix. The full-flavored sauce exponentially increased
the pleasure, kicking the dish into the stratosphere.
thought cilantro couldnít get any better than that, but I
a cilantro and ginger hummus that was so addictive that one
co-worker accused me of making crack. Another co-worker, who
fancies herself the definitive expert on hummus, explained
in no uncertain terms that what she was eating was not, in
fact, hummus, because it tasted of cilantro and ginger.
you, she couldnít get enough of it.
this hummus (or cilantro-flavored chickpea spread, as the
expert insisted it be called) is deceptively easy to make.
You just throw a handful of ingredients into a food
processor and whip it together until done.
added one preparation that made it as smooth as silk, and it
probably took less than 15 extra minutes ó though that is
more time than it took to make the rest of it: I peeled the
were canned, so it was easy (Iíve also peeled them when I
cooked them myself, but that is much more work). The beans
pop right out of their clear skins, and it makes a world of
difference in the final product.
other hand, the best hummus Iíve ever had is made at a
Lebanese restaurant in Toledo, Ohio, and I asked the owner
if he peels the chickpea skins. He said no.
I made a chicken dish that may actually be my favorite of
the three, though that is stiff competition. It takes more
time and effort than the other two, but Iím sure you will
agree that the results are well worth it.
is a thick sauce popular in Mexico, and the kinds that are
most familiar in this country, from the Mexican states of
Oaxaca or Puebla, tend to be highly complex and take forever
to make. They also tend to be enriched with ground nuts.
version, however, is from the state of Zacatecas, which is
farther north. Itís a green mole, made with fresh
tomatillos along with the cilantro, and it is lighter in
concept than the others, though just as flavorful.
sauce is made partly from a cilantro broth that is used to
simmer the chicken. One especially enticing byproduct of the
dish is that you end up with about two quarts of this
incredible chicken-cilantro broth.
mole is superb; it is mind-blowingly superb, it is unlike
anything you have ever tasted.
now I canít wait to use that broth.
GREEN MOLE WITH CHICKEN
to 4-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
cup cilantro stems
tablespoons kosher salt
teaspoon whole black peppercorns
large yellow onions, chopped
the green mole
ounces tomatillos, preferably fresh, peeled and chopped
jalapeŮos, stemmed and chopped
cup cilantro leaves
teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
cloves garlic, chopped
(8-inch) flour tortillas, toasted, plus more for serving
tablespoons canola or corn oil
cook the chicken: Place chicken, cilantro stems, 2
tablespoons kosher salt, peppercorns, whole (or crushed)
garlic, bay leaf and 12 cups water in a 6-quart saucepan and
bring to a boil; reduce to medium low and simmer, covered
and stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30
Remove chicken from saucepan and strain liquid through a
fine strainer; reserve 4 cups and save remaining liquid for
another use (it makes a delicious broth). Set chicken and
make the sauce: Heat tomatillos and jalapeŮos in a saucepan
over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until
darkened and thick, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender
with cilantro leaves, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, chopped
garlic, tortillas and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid.
Heat oil in a 6-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; add
tomatillo sauce and fry, stirring constantly, until it
thickens into a paste, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 3
cups cooking liquid and bring to a boil; reduce heat to
medium and cook, stirring, until reduced and thickened,
about 30 minutes.
chicken pieces and cook until heated through, about 10
minutes. Serve with Mexican rice and tortillas.
serving: 527 calories; 30 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 131 mg
cholesterol; 44 g protein; 17 g carbohydrate; 4 g sugar; 2 g
fiber; 1,725 mg sodium; 64 mg calcium.
by Saveur magazine
LAMB CHOPS WITH CILANTRO CHIMICHURRI
cup soy sauce
garlic cloves, divided, minced
chops or 1 rack, frenched
tablespoons cumin seeds
tablespoon coriander seeds
tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
pinch crushed red pepper flakes plus optional ľ teaspoon
tablespoons jalapeŮo, chopped
tablespoons rice vinegar
cup olive oil
soy sauce, oil, sherry and 4 of the minced garlic cloves.
Add lamb chops (cut into 4 pieces if using a rack of lamb)
and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.
Toast cumin and coriander seeds by placing them in a hot
skillet over medium-high heat; shake the pan frequently
until the seeds are aromatic, about 1 minute. Pour out the
seeds and add peppercorns to the pan; toast in the same
manner until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind all the seeds
in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Add salt and
optional crushed red pepper flakes and sprinkle liberally
Heat grill or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook
lamb until done, an internal temperature of 140 degrees for
medium rare. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving with the
cilantro chimichurri sauce.
make the chimichurri sauce, place in a blender the cilantro,
lime juice, jalapeŮo, rice vinegar, remaining 1 minced
clove garlic and remaining pinch of crushed red pepper
flakes, and blend. With the motor running, drizzle in the
oil. Season to taste with salt.
serving: 654 calories; 54 g fat; 13 g saturated fat; 108 mg
cholesterol; 31 g protein; 8 g carbohydrate; 2 g sugar; 1 g
fiber; 4,833 mg sodium; 107 mg calcium.
AND GINGER HUMMUS
About 12 servings
(15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
tablespoon minced garlic
tablespoon minced fresh ginger
cup olive oil
desired, peel the chickpeas (if the beans have been canned,
the peels will pop right off). This step is not necessary,
but it makes a much smoother hummus.
Blend chickpeas in a food processor until coarse. Add tahini,
garlic, ginger, cilantro, lemon juice and salt. Process for
a full 1 to 2 minutes. With the processor running, drizzle
in the oil and then the water. For a smoother, thinner
consistency, add more water.
2-tablespoon serving: 152 calories; 11 g fat; 2 g saturated
fat; no cholesterol; 4 g protein; 11 g carbohydrate; no
sugar; 1 g fiber; 273 mg sodium; 31 mg calcium.