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Feb 23, 2008 10:58 PM

Culantro - assistance

Ok - its used in Puerto Rican Cuisine - how? Sofrito base - what else?

Some research led me to the fact that it is grown in the recently hurraicane devasted S. MEx state of Tabasco. However it is oddly refered to as "cilantro extranjera" in Mexico.

Vietnam - sawtooth herb? Ngo gai?

Where else and how is it used?

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  1. Here's a pretty good horticultural description. It confirms you Vietnam guess.

    For a time I thought it was just an alternative spelling for cilantro, but this page explains:
    'The appearance of culantro and cilantro are different but the leaf aromas are similar, although culantro is more pungent. Because of this aroma similarity the leaves are used interchangeably in many food preparations and is the major reason for the misnaming of one herb for the other.'


      1. In Vietnamese it's called "ngo gai" and I've seen it described as sawleaf herb. It's like cilantro but stronger and "soapier", the way galangal is like ginger but stronger and "soapier". If you have people who hate cilantro, they're really going to loathe culantro.

        It's often found on xalach dia, the "table salad" of herbs that accompany many Vietnamese dishes. I tear it into pho, when I can find it... it's very expensive, comparatively speaking.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          It's insanely cheap here in Florida. You can find it in any supermarket or local market. I've had it in most Puerto Rican dishes that have a sofrito base. It's also used to make Bacalaitos (salted cod fish mixture fried in balls).

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Old thread ... I know ... but I had it for the first time today in Sopa de mariscos. In Guatemala it is called alcapa. While there wasn't a lot of it as it was used for seasoning, I never would have picked up on the cilantro profile at all. Then again, it might not have that cooked in soup. I liked it.

            A picture of it here and one of cilantro for comparison

            Also, more than you ever want to know about it.

          2. Culantro is used in almost everything here in Puerto Rico

            Is used in Sofrito to stew but it can also be used whole....

   can use it for everythign even stewed rice....

            1. Culantro is sometimes called recao.

              3 Replies
              1. re: nmawhb

                The jar of Goya Racaito that I just finished lists cilantro in the English ingredients, and recao in the Spanish list. The label picture shows both the frilly cilantro leaves, and long ones.


                1. re: paulj

                  the long one is CULANTRO (reca'o)

                  and the leafy one is Silantro, used in Guacamole....

                  Culantro is stronger, by far

                  1. re: Echotraveler

                    Thai's use a lot of Cilantro, and which they call 'phak chii' and they use lesser amounts of Culantro, and which they call 'phak chii falang,' the 'falang' meaning 'western.' Seeds for Eryngium foetidum can be obtained very cheaply from It grows well in US zones 7-10.