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Personally I love cilantro. But I've become convinced over time that some people are genetically predisposed to hate it. They can only taste soap and nothing else. I've just seen it over and over. Any leafy herbs you might recommend as a substitute? Flat leaf parsley doesn't pack any punch. I'm thinking maybe thai basil.

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

asked almost 7 years ago
5 answers 1779 views
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Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 7 years ago

You probably read this story but for others who haven't -- it's about why cilantro tastes like soap for some people. http://nyti.ms/cFKPv1

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Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 7 years ago

My sister is a soap-taster, as is my cousin. Both born same year, so I think it's a genetics and year combo :-) That said - nothing really tastes like cilantro so I would take the approach of finding an herb that suits the dish - Thai basil is a great choice, maybe in some cases lemon thyme, or lemongrass even - I would think citrusy. Or, even a citrus zest if you aren't completely comitted to greenery??

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AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 7 years ago

Mint sometimes works, or a combination of mint and oregano, or mint and marjoram. It depends entirely on the recipe. I often substitute Thai basil (again, though, it depends on what else is in the dish) when I don't have cilantro on hand. ;o)

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added almost 7 years ago

I am a cilantro soap taster as are many family members. What I've been doing which works for me (and my unsuspecting family) is to use a smaller amount than what's called for and, depending on the recipe, add in other herbs to supplement. I've gotten used to cilantro in small doses now and would definitely miss it if I didn't use it at all. I often use thai basil and lemon grass sounds like it would be great, too. Will have to try that also! I do have to admit though, that when a dish arrives in a restaurant with the sprig of cilantro on top, I do wish I could make like Julia Child and throw it on the floor.

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pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 7 years ago

Thanks for the input folks. I do have a tendancy to be dismissive of foodphobics' phobes, but in this case I know that cilantro is not "an acquired taste." Flat out, you can't teach people to like it. Nobody will go into anaphylactic shock from eating it, but if your guests don't enjoy what they are eating...

... but then I want to say, 'okay, screw 'em' , I'm the cook and it tastes good to me.

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