Cilantro, Coriandrum sativum, is a member of the Umbelliferae family (carrot family) and is pronounced as “see laan tro”. Cilantro comes from Coriander plant and is one of only 4 plants that produces two spices, the others being dill (dill seed and dill weed), fenugreek (fenugreek seeds and fenugreek leaves) and fennel (fennel seeds and fennel pollen). Cilantro is the leaves while Coriander is the fruit of the plant (most often referred to as seeds).
Cilantro is one of those spices and herbs that is either a “love it” or “hate it”. If you love it you find it to be a fragrant mix of citrus and parsley and Cilantro is a key herb in Mexican, Caribbean and Asian cuisines. Julia Child, the renowned American chef, author and television personality, was firmly in the camp of “I hate it” (she also was not fond of arugula) and said so in a 2002 CNN interview with Larry King. King asked her what she would do if she found it on a dish that she ordered at a restaurant — would she eat it? And as only Child could say “Never, I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.”
The taste of the fresh Cilantro is due to an essential oil (0.1% – 0.2%) that is predominantly made up of aliphatic aldehydes.
Cilantro is called kuzbara warak (Arabic), yuen sui (Mandarin), persil arabe (French), Indische Petersilie (German), hara dhania (Hindi), koendoro (Japanese), kinza (Russian) and cilantro (Spanish).
Cilantro is also known as coriander leaf, cilantrillo, Mexican parsley and Chinese parsley.