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Coriander: A secret of Antakya cuisine

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Coriander is not known much..Only some local folks appreciate it, like the Southestern Anatolia people..But it occupies a very important place in Antakya cuisine, and let me share a secret with you: if there is no coriander in the famous Antakya dürümü (stuffed rolls), it is never an Antakya dürümü in the real sense! Sure, the paste of a local variety a red pepper shouldn't be ignored.

Coriander, or Coriandrum sativum, is called 'kişniş' in Turkey: Kishnish. As far as I know, only its seeds are used. It has a unique and strong aroma. Maybe because of this, it is not so widely used as maybe expected, considering its health benefits. Yes, its essential oil has antibacterial and antifungal features..Other benefits are pronounced as well, and there is some literature about that, if you are interested in it, I'm sure you can find some reliable  material, as I found..As to its antimicrobial features, I guess this is why the Southeastern people use it, the region is hot, and local people love to eat meat..Coriander seems to protect the meat..But what is more important than this, its antimicrobial features help bowels keep the intestinal flora in balance..

Where to find? If you cannot find it  at your local supermarket, try herbal shops, but try to find the product of the current season.

How to use? if just for taste, you can add it into sauces, as seeds , when it was boiled , but for health benefits, grinding  and adding it into food or sauces as raw, small particles is better..You can even chew it, as I do..well, not much enjoyable but it worths..

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Actually coriander leaves are delicious, but, as far as I know, not used in Turkish cuisine. You can buy coriander easily in TRNC but I have only seen it on sale in 'Western' parts of Istanbul at ridiculous prices. We grow our own from seed, so as to have the leaves available for cooking, but also in salads.

We also use coriander seed, ground together with cumin seed, which I simply label as CandC, it is often used in Indian cuisine.

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Yes, I didn't meet anybody who consumes coriander leaves, but so long as I move from one location to another, I should be ready to meet a different habit of food consumption..and a variety or a species  of a vegetable or a totally unfamiliar fruit,.this always surprises me..

Cumin is more widely used than coriander.. Like coriander, cumin is believed to have carminative features. In the Southeastern region, where lentil is most commonly used, cumin is a 'must' for the meals made of lentil, as lentil causes intestinal gas and cumin is the cure! Once a friend of mine from Antakya was surprised to see me serving lentil soup without cumin and rushed to the kitchen to find some!!

Cumin is kimyon, in Turkish..

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The spice that surprises me in Turkey is cardamom (Kakule in Turkish), how is it used here? I use in in Indian food, in the Middle east they add it to Turkish coffee (to make it Arabian coffee). I have not seen it used in coffee here, apart from the South East of Turkey, yet they stock it in the Spice shops.

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The first time I tasted it was when an Iranian office-mate brought some desert from Iran, and served it to the office people..Following the Turkish traditon we all thanked or tried to look thankful for that too sweet, too fatty (even when compared with baklava) thing which had a totally unfamiliar aroma..Arabic or Persian cuisine does not sound like something from the space to Turks, but this much was really too much...:wacko: The pieces of the desert somehow disappeared, but not in the normally expected way, for sure.:confused:.It was only me, for the sake of politeness, who tried to swallow a small piece. It was then, I tasted kakule..

Do you really want to know the rest of the story?That Iranian office- mate had an unfortunate habit of going to his home country, more frequently than we all hoped..and we were all  educated enough to look thankful when turned back with the package he was proud of..:P

I really don't know for whom the shops stock it..I have not met anybody thus far, except for some Antakya folks, who knows it or likes it.. 

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Turks seem to have  invented a peculiar way of using it! I read somewhere: if you have to drive after drinking some alcohol, chew a piece of kakule and don't worry about the breath-test ! how? Supposedly, it diminishes the amount of alcohol evaporating in the mouth!! the  poor breath-tesing device which doesn't know about the creative skills of Turks will tell the officer that the driver is sober:lol:

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You're welcome ! 

As to the serious side of kakule, as I said, except for the areas bordering Arabian countries, kakule is not an issue of tradition, but it seems it becomes a new trend. So whatever the shopkeeper says will be based on what he reads..To read what? Some , or in fact, a few of the books they read, ok, have some historical content, but most of the books on sale today have no reliable reference. I don't mean that what they say is wrong, but they lack reference..A pharmacologist, for instance just sits and writes a book, but what he /she does is actually copying the material from another book, without reference, and this goes on like this..

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I made a steak marinade which called for coriander. I had some, but all I had was the seeds. I did some research on it, and found that it always comes in seeds, one must grind them, because after being ground, it loses the flavor quickly.

I also learned that this was the same thing as cilantro, which I have always loved. I didn't know they had cilantro in Turkey. I had searched for it, not realizing that coriander and cilantro are the same thing! In San Diego, where I lived near the Mexican border, cilantro was in a lot of the food. Unfortunately I didn't have anything to grind it with, but I will get something soon.

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I didn't know coriander and cilantro were the same thing either, heard cilantro spoken about lots of times in TV cooking programs. Great to be able to use it now.

I like the cardomom in coffee idea, another one I use is clove in çay, very tasty.

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On ‎22‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 0:23 PM, Ken Grubb said:

I made a steak marinade which called for coriander. I had some, but all I had was the seeds. I did some research on it, and found that it always comes in seeds, one must grind them, because after being ground, it loses the flavor quickly.

I also learned that this was the same thing as cilantro, which I have always loved. I didn't know they had cilantro in Turkey. I had searched for it, not realizing that coriander and cilantro are the same thing! In San Diego, where I lived near the Mexican border, cilantro was in a lot of the food. Unfortunately I didn't have anything to grind it with, but I will get something soon.

Hi Ken, get yourself a small electric coffee grinder for grinding spices, they work a treat.

 

You can grow coriander in a plant pot. Soak the seeds (normal coriander seeds from the spice shop) overnight. Sow them about 1cm below the surface of the soil cover them. (If you wrap them in a sheet of toilet paperl they will not float to the surface when you water them).

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On ‎22‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 5:19 PM, Cukurbagli said:

I didn't know coriander and cilantro were the same thing either, heard cilantro spoken about lots of times in TV cooking programs. Great to be able to use it now.

I like the cardomom in coffee idea, another one I use if clove in çay, very tasty.

Also a pinch of ground cinnamon in coffee is really interesting

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Coriander leaves are often in the recipe for making a curry but I can't find them here so last week I bought some seeds in a herb and spice shop and planted them. What do you know they came up! Hooray!

IMG_20161204161021.jpg

 

 

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1 hour ago, Cukurbagli said:

Coriander leaves are often in the recipe for making a curry but I can't find them here so last week I bought some seeds in a herb and spice shop and planted them. What do you know they came up! Hooray!

IMG_20161204161021.jpg

 

 

That's the way to do it CB, we always have some on the go, they self seed in our veggie garden. Winter is more of a problem though here in the mountains. Afiyet Olsun

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Disappointingly growth seems to have stalled, the plants are still green and are alive, they just haven't progressed much beyond growing the first proper coriander looking leaves.They are outside but under a bit of shelter so it could be the cold has slowed them down. I might try bringing them back inside but I'll be planting more seeds when springs comes, I think they'll be more successful.

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