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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cilantro Challenged?

As you have probably noticed by now, cilantro is used extensively in Mexican cuisine. Some of you may say “I don't like it”, or “it tastes funny”. Believe me, I have heard them all. Chances are you have tasted it once or maybe even twice, and made your decision. I would bet that you have eaten it many, many times at a Mexican, Asian (yes Chinese), or Indian restaurant and didn't even recognize it.

Cilantro is the leaf of the coriander plant; they are also referred to as coriander leaves. Folklore represents that it is an aphrodisiac, as noted in the book of The Arabian Nights which tells a tale of a merchant who had been childless for 40 years and but was cured by a concoction that included coriander. That book is over 1000 years old so the history of coriander as an aphrodisiac dates back far into history.  For this one reason alone, I would think that many of you would start eating it today! 

There is a lot of material on the internet discussing the nutritional components of cilantro and coriander that you can research. The article noted below should be of interest to many people.

Research states that chemicals derived from coriander leaves were found to have antibacterial activity against Salmonella choleraesuis. From: "Antibacterial Activity of Coriander Volatile Compounds against Salmonella choleraesuis"; Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry by Kubo, I.; Fujita, K. I.; Kubo, A.; Nihei, K. I.; Ogura, T. (2004).

Whether these two items tempt you to try it again, or just pique your interest, give it a try in a simple fresh salsa recipe. Make the fresh salsa with all the ingredients except the cilantro. Put a few tablespoons of the salsa in a separate bowl and add a little chopped cilantro leaves, stir well. Give both a taste and note the difference in flavors. You may find that you prefer the salsa with cilantro over the more neutral tasting salsa without cilantro. 

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