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Both the leaves and the seeds of the coriander plant are used. Ground coriander seed is also known under the Indonesian name Ketoembar. There are two types of coriander which are significantly different due to their origin. For example, one coriander comes from the Mediterranean and the other from Russia and Central and Southern Europe. Verstegen's coriander comes from Morocco.
Coriander is an annual plant from the umbellifer family. The plant is an approximately 50 cm-long fern with dense foliage and pink-white flowers. The leaves have two different shapes, the base leaves are broad and pinnate and the upper leaves are narrow. The seeds are harvested from the ripe coriander plant flowers and then sold as the spice coriander. The leaves are harvested and used as the herb.
There are two types of coriander. One species, Coriandrum sativum vulgare, comes mainly from Morocco and India and has large seeds (>3 mm) and leaves with a mild aroma. The other, Coriandrum sativum microcarpum, originates mainly from Russia and Central and Southern Europe. This variety has smaller seeds (<3 mm) that have a strong flavour and resemble peppercorns with grooves in them. The leaves of this variety are not used. Verstegen's coriander comes from Morocco.
The use of coriander is very versatile, and is therefore also used in many different kitchens.
Coriander seed is widely used in Eastern and North African cuisine. Coriander leaf is widely used in Latin American, Chinese and Indian cuisine. Coriander leaves have a spicy, bitter-sweet and lime-like flavour. The flavour of coriander seed is very similar to the leaf, but less spicy. Try this spice in a Mexican dish as stuffed tortillas.