The Best Substitutes For Coriander
Coriander is an exceptional herb used in various local and international dishes. Even though it’s not easy to find the exact replacement for coriander but we have curated the best coriander substitute.
Some people love coriander and cannot stand it’s taste. So what yo do if you run out of it or are just averse to it? Let’s have a look at a few substitutes for coriander – dried and leaves. Coriander is a much-loved ingredient in Indian cooking due to its exotic aroma and flavor. Coriander is a nutrient-dense herb with lots of medicinal qualities. The scientific name of coriander is C. Sattivum which is called Dhaniya (धनिया) in Hindi. So, what do you use instead of coriander when you run out of this aromatic herb? Let’s get familiar with the best coriander substitutes.
Are Coriander And Cilantro Same?
Before jumping on the substitutes of coriander, it’s crucial to know about coriander itself! In most of the parts of the world, coriander refers to leaves and seeds including India. In some countries, like North America, it’s seeds are called coriander and cilantro refers to the leaves. Coriander is widely used in Mexican, Thai and Indian cuisine.
To understand the coriander substitutes, you need to gauge what kind of coriander you need for the preparation of your dish. Fresh coriander leaves, coriander seeds or dried coriander powder? If you dislike using coriander or have run out of it while cooking, here is a list of alternatives and substitutes of coriander.
A) Dried Coriander Substitutes – Powder And Seeds
Caraway or Carum carvi is a herb that looks very similar to cumin seeds or jeera but it’s darker in color with five ridges along their length. It’s also called meridian fennel and Persian cumin. Caraway is not as well recognized as coriander or cumin as it’s mostly used in European dishes but it’s a spice similar to coriander seeds because both of them belong to the same family which is Apiaceae family.
Caraway seeds have the same earthy flavor like coriander seeds which can be easily mixed in several Indian dishes. Caraway seeds have a mild anise flavor and taste brilliant in a potato salad, rye bread, dips, and soups.
2) Cumin Seeds
Be it a tadka or a soup, most Indian dishes are incomplete without cumin seeds. It is one of the versatile ingredients which is staple in almost every Indian kitchen. Even though cumin is lacking in sweet, citrusy flavor but it will definitely get you a similar aroma and desired earthy taste. Being smokey and slightly buttery in taste, we can’t use it in surplus amount. ¾ part of cumin is enough as a coriander substitute in curry or any other dish.
3) Garam Masala
Garam masala is a well-known blend of herbs that are used to enhance the flavor of various dishes. Garam masala can be substituted for coriander seeds as it contains coriander powder with all other spices such as peppercorn, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Garam-masala has a pungent yet aromatic taste which is not very similar to coriander seeds but still you can manage. Make sure you use it in moderate amount as the aroma is strong.
Also Read: We reviewed the tastiest garam masala for Indian curries. Check it out.
4) Curry Powder
Curry powder can be one of the coriander spice substitutes. Curry powder is a mixture of spices like chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander and cardamom which may not offer you the similar coriander flavor but its tangy taste will not disappoint you. Curry powder has a strong flavor hence it must be used almost half the amount while replacing coriander seed powder.
Also Read : Spectacular Benefits Of Coriander Seeds
B) Fresh Coriander Substitutes Or Cilantro Substitutes
Parsley looks very much like coriander leaves or cilantro. A little parsley can revive your dishes, thanks to its bright color. Although, parsley can’t compete with the citrusy undertones of coriander but it will surely upgrade the existing flavor of the dish like squeezing a lemon to your dish! Parsley combines well with garlic that’s used in many Italian dishes. Curly leaf, and Italian parsley must be picked as a substitute for coriander. You can also read 8 Fantastic Substitutes For Parsley.
Basil is quite different from coriander leaves but still it may be used as a substitute for cilantro leaves. Basil belongs to the mint family which is also popular sweet basil. Basil provides a mild spicy, sweet, and licorice-like taste. Basil loses it’s taste when cooked therefore raw chopped basil can be used over dishes for appealing look and enhanced flavor. Basil is widely used in pizzas, pasta, salads and soups. Thai basil, sweet basil, and lemon basil are some of the common varieties of basil available which can be used as a coriander substitute.
The flavor of mint is not the same as coriander leaves but it complements cilantro. Mint is well appreciated in Mexican recipes and fruit-based salsas. Mint must be used as half of the coriander leaves to avoid the dominant flavor of mint. A splash of balsamic vinegar can be added while using mint in your dish to decrease the cooler flavor as this vinegar is slightly sweet in taste. Mint complements great with natural yogurt, cucumber salad, cold and hot soups, and chutneys.
4) Celery Leaves
Celery leaves are a versatile herb with an intense flavor. Celery has a similar flavor to anise and fennel but much milder and subtle. Celery contains very few calories and can be added to stir-fries, stocks, sauces, and soups. Although celery has a different taste, it belongs to the same family of coriander and it can be used as a coriander substitute. Celery comes in yellow and green color which is abundant in summer. It goes well with burgers as well as preserved foods.
Watercress has a peppery taste which is similar to plants like mustard and wasabi. The pepperiness generally diminishes after cooking and leaves a delicious vegetable taste. The aroma of watercress is less than coriander but goes well as a coriander root substitute. Try opting young watercress as the mature ones taste slightly bitter. Watercress works great in Asian salads.
Chervil is a feathery version of parsley with small and gentle leaves. It may replace coriander due to its distinct taste. It has a mild and sweet flavor which is mostly combined with butter in sauces, steamed vegetables, grilled meat, soups and especially eggs and omelettes. Avoid cooking the chervil to save its already mild flavor.
7) Herb Mixture
A herb mixture of dill, tarragon, parsley and oregano can be added in your dishes to get the desired result while replacing coriander leaves. You must go for smaller amounts of herb mixture to make it a somewhat similar flavor of coriander leaves or cilantro.
Why Does Cilantro Taste like Soap To Some people?
You may find every other person as a fan of coriander due to its unique flavor but there are some people who dislike coriander leaves or cilantro and their genes(OR6A2) are responsible for it. That’s true! Genes(OR6A2) makes some people perceive the soapy flavor dialdehydes in cilantro leaves. It’s similar to the chemicals found in soaps. Anyway, if you can’t have coriander leaves then there are many delicious options worth trying to replace coriander.
Coriander is an exotic and versatile herb that has an individual flavor. Be it coriander leaves, seeds, or fresh coriander powder, it leaves a mark on your palate. But if you run out of coriander leaves or seeds or you don’t enjoy the taste of cilantro then there are plenty of options for coriander substitutes that can be used while cooking without compromising with aroma and flavor.