Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Careful With Your Coriander

Coriander. Yeah, it is probably one of those random spices your family has in the back of the spice rack. But I think now is the time for it to share a little front shelf space.
Now for a little biography of Mr. Coriander:
A) Great references! He was a featured spice in Sanskrit writings and the Bible, first appearance being circa 5000 B.C. Its big debut in America was 1670.
B) Is amiable: Its unique taste is a cross between lemon and sage, but it’s light and mild in nature. Favorite playmates: ginger, cumin, curry, turmeric.
C) Family Lineage: technically, coriander is made from the seeds of a cilantro plant. However, do not mistake one for the other! They are more like siblings, not twins, thus cannot be used interchangeably.
D) Ethnicity: Anywhere from southern Europe to northern Africa to southwestern Asia.
It’s Tuesday, and it’s been a slow day. So I thought I might spice it up by challenging myself to create something with this oddball, coriander. Many internet and cookbook suggestions were for flavoring soups, stews, and sausages, making meat rubs and marinades, and even…desserts? Strange. Anyway, working with what was in the pantry and fridge, I was relatively limited: hamburger, rice, carrots, and zucchini – yes, it has been a while since the last grocery store trip. In the end, I decided to employ some soy sauce, lemon juice, cumin and cayenne pepper to the above in the creation of a Cumin-Coriander Burger with Coriander, Zucchini and Carrot Rice Dish. The lemon juice helped to bring out the coriander flavor in the rice dish and the cumin was a nice compliment to the coriander in the burgers. Not sure what “type” of food you would consider this, but I think of it as maybe more Middle Eastern, southern Asia.
Cumin-Coriander Burgers
1/3 lb ground beef
¼ t ground coriander
1/8 t ground cumin
1/8 t ground cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, pinch
1. Put beef in bowl. Add spices.
2. Mix with hands. Form patties
3. Cook in skillet for about 5 min per side.

Coriander, Zucchini and Carrot Rice Dish
¼ c rice
½ c chicken broth
1 T olive oil
½ c zucchini, shredded [about ½ of one zucchini]
½ c carrot, shredded [about 1 large carrot]
¼ c onion, diced
1 clove garlic
2 t lemon juice
2 t soy sauce
¼ t ground coriander
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1. Put rice and broth in small saucepan, bring to boil. Cover. Let cook for 12-15 min, until fluffy.
2. In skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
3. Add in zucchini, carrot, onion and garlic. Sautee vegetables until cooked.
4. Add in lemon juice, soy sauce, coriander, and cayenne. Keep hot.
5. Mix vegetable mix with rice, serve. **Be careful with over-salting at the table, as the soy sauce is quite salty.

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