Have you ever bought a few bunches of coriander with thoughts of herby salads and Indian dishes topped with coriander, and then found yourself with most of it left at the end of the week? We have your back – here are some ways to deal with that fragrant bunch of greenery.
We have hints for buying coriander – and avoiding that mushy slime that coriander can collapse into – and for storing it to maximise its freshness and length of storing.
Options for Using Left Over Coriander
Option 1: Coriander Pastes that freeze well or can be stored in the fridge. A special favourite is Coriander Paste with Garlic and Chilli that stores really well.
Option 2: A fresh Indian style Coriander and Coconut Chutney that can be served with meals or used as a dip or spread.
Option 3: A refreshing Indian yoghurt based drink – Chilli and Coriander Lassi
Option 4: Use in vegetable dishes, for example, an excellent carrot dish with ginger and loads of coriander, and soups, for example Lemongrass and Coriander Summer Soup. There are also drinks and snacks that use up coriander.
See below for more details.
Lots of Coriander Recipes
Read some more about Green Coriander.
We can’t all grow our own coriander – and it it notoriously finicky to grow – so buying coriander is our only option. Supermarkets and Green Grocers seem to either have large, luxurious bunches or a measly, meager plastic container of a few strands of coriander that is likely to turn mushy as soon as you get it home. The bunches give you better value – look for fresh, bright looking bunches without any yellowing or blackening leaves. If you can find bunches with the roots still attached – not only will these last longer, but the roots also have loads of flavour.
If you can, look for your coriander in markets, SE Asia or Chinese Shops, or Indian Groceries. I find the coriander from these sources to be much better quality than supermarket or large green grocer supplied bunches.
Opinions vary as to the best way to store coriander. Here are some options – experiment and find the way that works best in your household.
I store mine in plastic containers. First, split each bunch into stems and leaves by slicing through the bunch just below the majority of the leaves. You now have stems and leaves. Place the leaves in one container, seal and place in the fridge. You can place the stems and roots in another container and also store in the fridge. Alternatively, if you like to use the roots, cut them off and store the stems. Now clean the roots really well in a bowl of water, removing all dirt. Drain, allow to dry at room temperature and store in the fridge.
Another way is to place the bunch of coriander in a jug with enough water to cover the cut stems or stems and roots. This will keep it fresh in cooler environments if left on the kitchen bench, or the jug and coriander can be placed in the fridge. You can also try placing a plastic bag upside down over the leaves – you may find this extends its freshness for a few more days.
My Indian Grocer keeps the coriander in a box in the fridge, laid between slightly damp paper kitchen towels. It stays amazingly fresh and vibrant.
You might also like to read Storing Bunches of Greens and Herbs.
Using Coriander Stems
Many recipes state using the leaves only, but the stems are sweeter and have more texture, as long as they are not woody. Chop them finely and top your dishes with the stems rather than leaves for flavour and crunch.
Leaves, stems and roots can be whizzed in short manner into all sorts of pastes that can be frozen or kept in the fridge for later use.
Whizz Them Up
The easiest way is just to whizz them up in a blender or with a hand held immersion blender or even in a spice grinder if you have only a little coriander. Blend with enough olive or other vegetable oil to keep it together. Place in sterilised jars in the fridge and use in soups, curries, stir fries, pasta and other dishes as inspiration strikes.
Other flavours can be blended into the paste – think garlic or chilli – as in these Coriander Pastes:
- Coriander Paste,
- Coriander Pesto, and
- Coriander and Coconut Chutney
- Zhoug – a Middle Eastern Coriander Paste
You can freeze these pastes (in a zip lock bag makes for efficient storage) or place in a jar and top with more oil to cover in a thin layer, and store in the fridge. Remember that salt is the preservative in the puree, so don’t skimp on it if storing in the fridge. It will last a long time.
We mentioned Coriander Pesto above. It is a great way of using up coriander but it is important to limit the cheese so as not to overpower the more delicate taste of the coriander. It is easy to make and easy to store, and works great with pasta and in salad dressings and soups, and as a spread in sandwiches, wraps.
A Fresh Chutney, Indian Style
Another way of using coriander is to make an Indian Fresh Coriander and Coconut Chutney to serve with Indian dishes, top your hot vegetables, or use as a dip or spread.
A Refreshing Drink
Fresh coriander can be made into a lassi – a cooling, yoghurt based drink from India. Try this Chilli and Coriander Lassi.
This dish from India is a delicious snack or side dish made from coriander. It uses a cup of coriander leaves and stems. You won’t be able to stop eating Kothimbir Wada.