Skip to main content

No results found

Eat, Sleep, Drink, Eat

Thank God For

Coriander

divider
Jack Rayner
Thank God for Coriander Mushroom soup

Medicinal herb, divisive flavouring, aphrodisiac or indispensable ingredient– coriander has been a lot of things to a lot of different people over the course of time.

The seeds, leaves and stalks of Coriandum sativum have been cultivated for at least 7000 years in various forms and for various purposes, but unlike many other plants, there is no consensus on where coriander is native to. An educated guess would place coriander'͛s origins on the European side of the Mediterranean Sea, but the plant seems to have been particularly important to the Egyptians; coriander seeds have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and many hundreds of years later, Pliny the Elder wrote of how the highest quality coriander available in his time still came from Egypt.

Ancient herbalists were thought to recommend coriander seeds as an aphrodisiac, and in traditional Chinese medicine, the seeds are employed to treat stomach aches and nausea.

Whilst its effectiveness as any sort of medicine is no longer believed with any sort of scientific seriousness, coriander's incredibly diverse culinary uses have continuously developed over the past millennia. Its introduction to Britain arrived far, far earlier than you might expect– as early as the late Bronze Age, settlers were using coriander seed to enliven their basic grain porridges and gruels.

Despite this early introduction into British cuisine, in the modern era we most closely associate coriander with Latin American and South Asian cooking– the conquistadors introduced the plant from Spain, and it quickly became an integral part of Mexican, Colombian, Venezuelan and related cuisines. In Asia, however, the process was far more gradual, as coriander made its way east with traders and settlers, in a reversal of the common Asia-to-Europe route for the spice trade of that era.

Now, coriander leaves are particularly important to north-eastern Chinese cooking, in lamb soups and dried bean curd salads, and form the backbone of Mexican cuisine. The seeds, however, are of particular interest in India, where they're commonly ground into a masala and used to flavour curries, stir fries, and dosas.

Modern research has suggested that, if you don't like the taste of coriander, there may be a hereditary element at play. A genetic testing company found two variants in olfactory receptor genes that were strongly associated with either enjoying coriander, or tasting a 'soapy' or unpleasant flavour in the herb.

However, if you're lucky enough to live free from this obnoxious and troublesome gene, then why not use coriander's aromatic quality to the best of its ability, with a hearty and pungent soup? Carrot and coriander is, of course, everyone's favourite, but this mushroom and coriander soup is a fabulous alternative– mushrooms' earthy savouriness perfectly complements the citrus tang of coriander leaves.

Mushroom and coriander soup

Ingredients

350g mixed mushrooms- chestnut, shiitake, button

1 finely chopped Bay leaf

30g ground almonds

Grated nutmeg

450ml semi-skimmed milk

Handful of finely chopped coriander leaves

1 tbsp unsweetened natural yoghurt

½ tsp paprika

Method

- Roughly chop the mushrooms

- Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan, on medium-high heat

- Add the onion and bay leaf, fry for two minutes

- Add the mushrooms, mixing well, and fry for five minutes

- Bring the heat down, add the almonds and nutmeg, and season well

- Add the milk and 300ml water

- Simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally

- Add most of the coriander, saving some for garnish

- Blend into a smooth soup with a food processor

- Before serving, stir in the yoghurt

- Garnish with the paprika and the rest of the coriander

RECOMMENDED

Mothers Ruin July Isle of Harris Gin Highland Cow
Tue 9 Jul 2019

Mother’s Ruin July

Isle of Harris Gin

The Isle of Harris lies off the far north-western coast of Scotland, separated from a distant mainland by the rough seas of The Minch. In a modern world, tradition holds fast there through a Gaelic culture of language and song. Among this rich heritage the Isle of Harris Distillery produces spirits worthy of bearing the island’s name...

Core Values July Water Pouring into Cup
Tue 2 Jul 2019

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water; it’s the primary building block of our cells. It makes up around 73% of our heart and brain, 64% of our skin and 31% of our bones. Even our body fat is 10% water. It’s such an important tool for our overall health, wellbeing and performance and yet it’s one most of us neglect on a daily basis...

Eid Street Party Eid Mubarak Candlelight Letter Blocks
Wed 29 May 2019

Eid Street Party

Restore, The People's Fair & The Asian Cultural Centre

Restore, The People’s Fair and The Asian Cultural Centre are hosting an Eid Street Party for hundreds in Manzil Way on Saturday 8th June! Their family fun day will be packed with lots of stalls, live music, and a food court with Fresh BBQ and Halal Food. They'll also have face painting, Henna, and Restore’s beautiful gardens to relax in...

Beer You Can Feel Good About Customers and Containers
Thu 23 May 2019

There are around 2,500 breweries in the UK. Given the sheer quantity of beer out there, how do you set yourself apart? While some plumb the depths of Willy Wonka flavours (avocado stout anyone?), others look to flashy branding and catchy names. Stroud Brewery, in contrast, looks to the environment and its community, making beer that doesn’t cost the earth...