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i just learned something about cilantro...

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 March 2012 at 11:26
i learned that i don't just dislike it, i HATE it. Dead
 
i've tried it at various times in the last few years, and its pungency has just been a turn-off, no matter how little i use. this last weekend, i went to a mongolian grill in billings (write up to follow as soon as i can), and decided to give it one more try. for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the mongolian grill concept, you move along in a buffet-style setting, choosing ingredients such as noodles, meats, vegetables, sauces and oils, and then a fun-loving and friendly fellow tosses them on a large, circular grill to cook, usually adding in a few flamboyances for dramatic effect. when it's done, your meal is plated, and then you can top it with a few condiments if you choose, then enjoy it. there's much more to it than that, but those are the basics.
 
as i assembled the ingredients for the mongolian grill, i noticed there were a lot of southseast asian ingredients, including pad thai noodles, peanut-based satay, lime, garlic etc... and cilantro. based on what i remembered of many posts here, i chose a bunch of these southeast-asian ingredients and then i added a couple-three small sprigs (with sprouts) to a fairly large portion that i was putting together, hoping that the cilantro and the ingredients i chose were good together.
 
well, the meal was good, but the cilantro wasn't. every time i hit a leaf of the stuff, i nearly died. it hit me somewhere between the top of the mouth and the bottom of the nose every time, nearly knocking me out of my chair. i can still remember the pungent odor/taaste that assaulted me ~
 
i consider myself to be fairly open-minded where food is concerned, but over the years, i've seen where there are simply some things i cannot eat. most organ or "variety" meats, green bell peppers, raw celery...and cilantro....top the list.
 
on the other hand, i love coriander, the spice that is, simply, the seeds of the cilantro herb. entirely different, and something i enjoy for many dishses - go figure ~
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 March 2012 at 12:43
Not hard to figure, Ron, as they have distinctly different flavor profiles.
 
Cilantro is a rum bird, with very very people indifferent to its presence. You either love it, or hate it, with not much middle ground. I can handle it in small amounts, in some dishes. But by and large I find it overpowering.
 
Many people liken it's flavor to soap. I wouldn't go that far, myself, but there is an earthy, tarry sort of taste that turns me off.
 
On the other hand, there are folks like the friend of mine in Oregon whose salsa recipe calls for two whole bunches of cilantro. In my mouth, two tablespoons would have been plenty; but there you go.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 March 2012 at 16:17
I'm one of those lucky folks that actually enjoys cilantro....wouldn't dream of making a chimichurri or mojo adobo without it.

Like Brook said...there is no in between. If it makes you feel any better Ron...my wife can't stand the stuff. 
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 March 2012 at 05:09
Just wondering Ron....have you never had Jerod's pico de gallo?

It is absolutely off the charts good, and there are two bunches of cilantro in it.
 I guess the rest of the ingredients help to mellow it out some....if you were ever to try it again I would suggest you try it with that wonderful pico de gallo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 11:08
I've always heard that cilantro is one of those things that we are genetically predisposed to love or hate. Something about associations with uncleanliness. I can never find a real answer when doing a google search, just a bunch of repeats of the same stuff!

But, I have also read that the chemicals in cilantro are 'mellowed' by crushing. Much of the unappetizing part of cilantro comes from an aroma and the whole leaves exhibit this the most. So if you make a chimichurri or pesto or something and let it rest, then the flavor/aroma may not be offensive to people that otherwise hate cilantro.

Personally, I love the stuff!  :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 11:10
dave and marissa - good points there and worth revisiting. i think the only times i've ever had it with something (that i know of), the herb was used whole. perhaps a small amount, chopped up, in pico de gallo, salsa or something similar would make a difference - worth further examination, for sure....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SavageShooter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 12:57
Maybe it's the sprigs themselves.  I don't use the sprigs in my dishes, I usually chop the leaves and throw the sprigs/stalks in the trash.  Sprigs/stalks taste nasty IMHO.  But I love the rest.

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Common sense is not all that common.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 13:02
that's a good idea, too, carl ~ hadn't thought of that, but the sprigs could very well ahve a whole different taste. i have enver worried about them like i do with other herbs, because they are soft/edible, i just assumed they were the same as the leaves, but it sounds like they have their own... "character...."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 13:08
Most people I know don't use the stems, just the leaves. This is counter to the may Mexican folks I know do it, but there you go.
 
I don't think it makes much difference in whether or not somebody likes the taste. The leaves, themselves, can be pretty overpowering.
 
I'm a little different than most. I don't mind the smell at all. In fact, that's how I tell it and parsley apart. But once its in the food by taste buds rebel.
 
Go figure!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 15:15
You poor cilantro-intolerant folks!  And Brook is right: "Authentic" use of cilantro will all but invariably use the stems -- the best part for many!

Oh, and you cilantrophobes are deficient mutants! Nuke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 16:01
you cilantrophobes are deficient mutants
 
Higher order of beings is more likely, Daikon. Geek
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 16:13
Nope.  The theory is that you are lacking a receptor, so you are unable to taste as much as the cilantrophiles.  You and your taste are deficient! Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 16:37
In theory, theory and reality are the same. In reality they're not.
 
Just on the face of it, that makes no sense. People who dislike cilantro react to its overpowering, soapy, etc. taste and smell. If they were lacking a receptor they would taste and smell it less, and not be so adverse to it.
 
On the other hand, it would make sense that those who love it are the ones lacking a receptor. Because they aren't overwhelmed by cilantro's flavor profile they like it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 17:16
You are not understanding the theory.  Cilantro is hypothesized to have essentially two distinct flavor profiles, one of which tastes fresh and good, the other of which tastes soapy, vile, or bad.  Cilantrophobes, lacking the receptor for the good flavor, taste only the bad; whereas cilantrophiles taste both flavors, which nets out to a positive for them. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2012 at 17:21
Picky eaters...
Hungry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 March 2012 at 16:06
Alas, it tastes soapy to me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2012 at 05:41

I never make a dish containing raw cilantro anymore for guests. I quickly understood that it's indeed a love or hate ingredient. Most haters seem to detect that soapy taste. But not only cilantro is judged like that. Many more people experience the same soapy taste from an overdose of ginger. I have friends who find cumin disgustingly smelling of.. old sweat.

But, quite a while ago, I learned an interesting thing about spices I didn't know before; that combining different spices and herbs suddenly reduces that concentrated taste to almost nothing and turns it into something that people will have no objection to at all. Roasted cumin seeds often used in spice mixes with kardemom and koriander is quite delicious. Ginger used together with garlic and a combination of spices in some sort of curry paste suddenly tastes totally acceptable.

I'm not very sure how cilantro haters will react, but I make a cold sauce or dressing if you like, using a lot of fresh cilantro leaves with their strong tasting stalks, a touch of garlic, a pinch of chili flakes, a handful of almonds all mixed in cream (also adding a little mascarpone will result in a thicker substance). I'm almost convinced that a lot of cilantro haters will be surprised how different this tastes,... no guarantee of course. I posted a picture of this sauce in the lower part of this "western couscous" thread.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2012 at 07:54
Makes sense. I don't mind a little cilantro in salsa or sofrito.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 April 2012 at 10:11
Good Afternoon,
 
Cilantro: I enjoy it in my Haas Guacamole ... I like most fresh herbs, and  thus, it is subjective. I cannot imagine a Jalisco Guacamole without it ...
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aspen Hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2012 at 08:22
I use lots of cilantro, nothing soapy about it at all!
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