Are not coriander and cilantro the same plant? My food dictionary says they are but Clark explains her choice as they "complement" each other.

  • Posted by: rukahn
  • July 29, 2018


creamtea August 6, 2018
when I was in my teens and twenties, "coriander," "cilantro" or "Chinese Parsley" were used interchangeably for the same herb. It seems that over time, "cilantro" overtook the other terms. The seeds seem always to have been called coriander seeds in American English, as far as I recall.
realjb August 6, 2018
Coriander is a more peppery seed and of the same plant, the cilantro is a more fresh green tangy light flavor. I believe cilantro would be used uncooked or slightly cooked or dried then added to be cooked.
Miss_Karen August 4, 2018
Yes, coriander Iis the 'berry' and cilantro is the 'leaf' of the same plant but the flavor is vastly different. I loathe cilantro but use coriander in my baking all the time.
BakerRB August 4, 2018
This may be more a football/soccer kind of question. In American English the green leafy part part of the plant is called cilantro (an herb) and the dried seed produced after flowering is called coriander (a spice). It seems from cooking shows/magazines/books that much (all?) of the rest of the English-speaking world calls the leafy part coriander, but, well, we just don't in the US.
Smaug August 6, 2018
The word coriander derives from ancient Greek and Latin roots, so no surprised it's so widespread. Interestingly, two unabridged dictionaries, both a few decades old, and some other reliable sources don't list the word cilantro at all. theorizes it is a variant of the Spanish "culantro", which I've run across a few times in (best I remember) Carribean recipes, referring to a different herb. So it seems like "cilantro" is probably a word that came north fairly recently.

Smaug July 29, 2018
Both derive from the plant coriandrum sativum but they're different entities. No so unusual- for instance, you might use seeds, stalks, leaves or "bulbs" from the same fennel plant.
ChefJune July 30, 2018
Although cilantro and coriander seeds are part of the same plant, I can't eat - or even abide the smell of - fresh cilantro. However, I have no issues with coriander seeds. Go figure!
Nancy July 29, 2018
Yes, cilantro (leaf form) and coriander (dried seed) are from the same plant.
What Melissa Clark may be doing here is layering flavors...using more than one format of the same or similar flavor to add complexity and richness to a dish.
You can find many examples in both savory dishes (like this one) and sweet ones (like using both apples and apple brandy in a dessert).
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