Exceptional Herbs for Your Garden
Thai coriander and the Thai cuisine
Coriander (Pak Chi) is a versatile herb popular in Thai cooking. Both the seeds and the leaves of the plant can be used, and offer two distinct flavours.
How to Grow Coriander
Coriander or Asian parsley enjoys a sunny position but appreciates a little shade during the hottest part of the day. Coriander is best grown from seed directly into the soil. Germination of coriander takes up to 3 weeks. Water them in dry periods and ensure the soil never dries out. Coriander does well in containers and can be grown on a sunny windowsill or balcony. The container must be quite deep as coriander has a long taproot.
Harvest the Coriander leaves when the plant is big and robust enough. Cut each leaf off the stem or snip whole stems if necessary. Both the leaves and the stalks can be used. Coriander is a tasty herb to grow, if you re-sow seeds every three weeks you can have lush coriander leaves throughout the summer to add to salads and Thai dishes.
Seeds - Thai-Coriander Seeds 10g
The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian foods (such as chutneys and salads); in Chinese and Thai dishes; in Mexican cooking, particularly in salsa and guacamole and as a garnish. As heat diminishes their flavour, coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish immediately before serving. In Indian and Central Asian recipes, coriander leaves are used in large amounts and cooked until the flavour diminishes. The leaves spoil quickly when removed from the plant, and lose their aroma when dried or frozen.
Coriander leaves resemble European parsley leaves in a number of ways: They have similar shape and are both best used raw, as the flavour vanishes after prolonged cooking. Few recipes boil either of these herbs, but there is again the coincidence the parsley is often used in European broth recipes, usually in the form of bouquet garni, and this finds a sibling in the South Indian spice broth rasam, where coriander leaves are boiled (see tamarinde for more). In both plants, the root has a similar flavour than the leaves, and its flavour turns out to tolerate boiling or simmering much better.
Coriander leaves, however, are a rare ingredient in the cooking of Western Asia. The key ingredients are green chiles, garlic, cardamom and black pepper. Further, optional ingredients are cumin, lemon juice and olive oil. Several recipes name caraway as an ingredient, but I am not sure that this is not a translation error for cumin. All components are processed to a thick paste.
The only other Western Asian cuisine using green coriander is Georgian cooking. Rather uniquely, Georgians like to combine parsley and coriander leaves do decorate their stews, or serve both types of leaves together as a fresh contrast to cheese. Often, the green power of these two herbs is augmented by dill leaves.
Use of coriander leaves is very frequent in Latin America, especially México (e. g., in salsa, see long coriander, or ceviche, see lime). Another famous Mexican food relying on coriander leaves is guacamole, a spicy coarse mash from avocados, chopped tomatoes, lime juice, onions, garlic, chiles and coriander leaves. For the heat, Mexicans most often use the green jalapeño or the slightly hotter serrano (see also paprika), but actually I prefer the flavourful habanero or related chiles for that food.
Thai basil has a sweet flavor reminiscent of anise, licorice and clove. Popular in the cuisine of Thailand. Thai Basil krapao is mild and has a fascinating anise flavor somewhat comparable to tarragon.
Bai Maeng lak
Thai sweet basil maeng lak is mild and has a fascinating anise flavour somewhat comparable to tarragon, but more intensive. The flavour will not tolerate prolonged cooking. The herb is often sprinkled over Thai food.
Our selection of exceptional organic Thai herbs - Herbs for Your Garden! Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), common balm, or balm mint, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family Lamiaceae.