Culantro

I love cilantro. I am so happy that I'm not one of those unfortunate people with the gene that makes it taste like soap. But cilantro is a picky little herb to grow here in the hot and humid south. It's cheap to buy at the grocery, but it doesn't keep for very long once you've gotten it home.

So I was excited to see culantro in the produce department with a nice little explanation that it tastes the same as cilantro but is heartier and will keep longer in the refrigerator (and last longer in the garden). Could culantro be the solution I've been looking for? Could culantro satisfy the cilantro lover in me? I had to try it out.

culantro

And, unfortunately, the answer is "no." Bless its heart, the culantro tried, but it's just not the same. The texture of the leave is coarse and it takes two-to-three times the amount of culantro (or more) to get the same amount of taste. So that's a lot of coarse leaf bits in your salsa or guacamole or soup, which really detracts from the experience. With cilantro, just a little bit of a fine leaf will go a long way and that's just not so for culantro.

I'm certainly disappointed. I had  high hopes for culantro. But my heart remains with cilantro.

11 thoughts on “Culantro

    1. Post author

      As far as I know, real cilantro goes in pho. At least, that's what I've seen. Though I did see culantro for sale at the K&S yesterday. These are rather long and wide leaves--like a huge sage. I've never seen these in any Asian foods.

      1. Yeah, I think that's what it is. Tabitha will have to help me confirm. The Asian cilantro is longer flatter leaves and a slightly different taste. They give you Thai basil, Asian cilantro (not sure the real name), jalapenos, and some bean shoots to put in your Pho. Just looked pics online and I'm pretty sure that's what it is.

        1. Or rather, I should say that Tabitha "may" have to help me confirm, not to imply that she must do it or has any more specific knowledge.

  1. That's disappointing. Honestly, I buy all my Cilantro at K&S. It's only $0.33/per bunch and i don't feel guilty if I don't use it all at that price.

  2. i've never heard of / seen culantro before, so i was intrigued by this post. sorry to hear that it wasn't everything that your cilantro-loving heart hoped it would be. in brighter news, how awesome is it that we both blogged about cilantro today? whoop!

  3. Tom

    Some culantro is just as strong as cilantro. Maybe a difference between various cultivars? It is native to Latin America, but used extensively in Asia, especially in Vietnam where it is in fact served with Pho. Cilantro is served with Pho in the US, because Sawtooth (Culantro) is very hard to come by here. Try again, perhaps from a different source - if you are lucky enough to find one.

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