HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Cilantro...to use the stems or not?

kpaxonite Jul 16, 2011 07:14 PM

I use them when I make tacos or burritos but on TV everyone trims it off...any thoughts?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. r
    rainey RE: kpaxonite Jul 16, 2011 07:33 PM

    I always trim them completely because I'm one of those people who finds it soapy tasting when the stems are included but I enjoy the flavor when it's just the leaves.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rainey
      kpaxonite RE: rainey Jul 16, 2011 07:42 PM

      I rather enjoy the texture and feel its more authentic (even though I could be completely wrong since Im from montreal).....I dont get a soapy taste that many people describe...plus its just easier hahha

    2. v
      Val RE: kpaxonite Jul 16, 2011 07:52 PM

      The thicker, lower parts of the stems I do remove but hell, the upper parts near the leaves you can certainly leave on...same with parsley *in my opinon.* hee!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Val
        ipsedixit RE: Val Jul 16, 2011 08:18 PM


      2. scubadoo97 RE: kpaxonite Jul 16, 2011 07:55 PM

        Io use the stems most often. Roots too if lucky enough to find them with roots

        1. paulj RE: kpaxonite Jul 16, 2011 08:07 PM

          Not everyone. Daisy Martinez does not. In one episode she comments that she was trimming off the stems as taught in culinary school, and her mother corrected her, saying that she should use everything.

          The stems are tender, but I usually chop them short.

          How about using parsley stems?

          5 Replies
          1. re: paulj
            Veggo RE: paulj Jul 16, 2011 08:26 PM

            Parsley stems? No soup for you!!

            1. re: Veggo
              iliria RE: Veggo Jul 17, 2011 07:56 AM

              I always use the parsley stems. I chop them really fine and find that they add quite a bit of flavor to the food.

              I have seen cilantro mentioned quite a bit but I must admit I have no idea what it is. Is it an ingredient used more in the US?

              1. re: iliria
                rosetown RE: iliria Jul 17, 2011 08:07 AM

                Perhaps you know it as coriander?

                1. re: iliria
                  Buckethead RE: iliria Jul 19, 2011 11:41 AM

                  In the US we usually call the fresh leaves cilantro and the dried seeds coriander rather than "fresh" vs. "dried" coriander..

                  I use the stems, the flavor is there just as it is in the leaves.

                  1. re: iliria
                    AdinaA RE: iliria Apr 25, 2012 12:10 PM

                    It was rare in most of the U.S. until recent decades, and is still rare in Australia and New Zealand and, well, all the old northern European settled places where there had not been much Latin influence.

              2. eight_inch_pestle RE: kpaxonite Jul 16, 2011 08:11 PM

                Yeah, stems are just fine. Sometimes I remove them for company just because I know there are those who will think it's a faux pas and will snicker behind my back on the way home, never knowing that I know some think it's a faux pas but just happen to disagree.

                Also? The crunch and punch is a really nice contract.

                1 Reply
                1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                  Duppie RE: eight_inch_pestle Jul 16, 2011 08:29 PM

                  I find the stems have a more intense flavor and use then in blended sauces or my scotch bonnet hot sauces.

                2. s
                  sushigirlie RE: kpaxonite Jul 16, 2011 10:34 PM

                  I tend to prefer that the stems be removed. I think they make the cilantro klunky. So you eat a big bunch of cilantro in one bite and no cilantro in the other.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sushigirlie
                    eight_inch_pestle RE: sushigirlie Jul 17, 2011 12:32 AM

                    To clarify, when I include it I still separate stem from leaves, then chop or mince the stem. Clunk-free.

                  2. TheHuntress RE: kpaxonite Jul 17, 2011 04:20 AM

                    I use the whole thing, stems, roots and all :)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: TheHuntress
                      Bada Bing RE: TheHuntress Jul 17, 2011 11:17 AM

                      Indeed, the roots are typically used in Southeast-Asian preparations. I wish American markets sold cilantro (coriander) with roots included.

                      1. re: Bada Bing
                        MrsCheese RE: Bada Bing Jul 17, 2011 05:15 PM

                        I get them with the roots on at my (American) market. Though it is more of a "farmstand" type place. Alas, I only use the leaves. :-)

                        1. re: MrsCheese
                          Bada Bing RE: MrsCheese Jul 17, 2011 05:35 PM

                          Lucky you! If you ever want a Thai/Vietnamese-style curry paste, try washing the roots and mashing or processing them with ginger or galangal root, garlic, peppers, etc. Yummy!

                      2. re: TheHuntress
                        dryrain RE: TheHuntress Jul 19, 2011 06:01 AM

                        I agree depending on the recipes you can use all parts of the plant.

                      3. Rmis32 RE: kpaxonite Jul 17, 2011 05:54 AM

                        An Indian cooking teacher told me to use cilantro stems, but not parsley stems. I finely chop cilantro stems.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Rmis32
                          hto44 RE: Rmis32 Jul 17, 2011 10:44 AM


                        2. luckyfatima RE: kpaxonite Jul 17, 2011 06:14 PM

                          I use the stems. They have good flavor.

                          1. JungMann RE: kpaxonite Jul 19, 2011 07:15 AM

                            I see no problem in using stems along with leaves as a garnish for tacos. The stems (and the roots as mentioned below) have a more intense flavor than the leaves, which is why they are favored in bold SE Asian curry pastes and marinades.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: JungMann
                              pj26 RE: JungMann Jul 19, 2011 07:18 AM

                              Depends - I would use the leaves on their own for garnish or tossed through a salad but would use the stems in pastes for Thai, Vietnamese food or if whizzing up for sauces, dressings etc. And the roots too - they have the most flavour.

                              1. re: pj26
                                Chowrin RE: pj26 Jul 19, 2011 07:30 AM

                                garnish is different, but I always, always use the cilantro stems. Course, I also use broccoli leaves, stems and other things.

                            2. grayelf RE: kpaxonite Jul 19, 2011 04:40 PM

                              I used to only use the leaves (PITA to pick them off!). Then I discovered banh mi where cilantro is chucked in by the handful on the stem. Now I put the stems in whenever I think I can get away with it for the extra crunch and flavour.

                              Love to use the roots in Thai cooking too. Everytime I get a bunch with roots I cut 'em off and freeze 'em till I have enough for a recipe.

                              1. s
                                shallots RE: kpaxonite Jul 19, 2011 07:26 PM

                                Cilantro grows really easily in the home garden. It does bolt in the heat of summer (so I harvest the seeds then.)

                                I use the leaves when I'm coarsely chopping, and the whole green bit when I'm making a sauce that gets emulsified with an immersion blender. I do save stems and freeze them in ice cubes for seasoning Black Bean Soup (Jacques Pepin's wife's recipe.)

                                This fall, I hope to start making my own Thai 'blends' as soon as my keffir lime tree gets a bit larger and my hot peppers start producing.

                                1. chefj RE: kpaxonite Apr 25, 2012 01:20 PM

                                  Use them

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: chefj
                                    1sweetpea RE: chefj Apr 25, 2012 01:41 PM

                                    I use the stems and leaves as garnishes or stirred into finished dishes. Roots are great for Thai and Vietnamese dishes. I make a spicy condiment from the entire bunch, roots and all, with Scotch Bonnets, lime and salt, that is awesome. Stems are tasty in a Southeast Asian broth or soup. The toughest aspect of cilantro is washing all the dirt and grit away and removing any brown or yellowing leaves and stems. Once clean, the entire bunch has uses.

                                    1. re: 1sweetpea
                                      chefj RE: 1sweetpea Apr 25, 2012 05:18 PM

                                      Roots are hard to come by but make a huge difference in Thai and Lao dishes.
                                      I never pick the leaves off the stem just slice a little finer towards the stem end of the bunch.

                                  2. letsindulge RE: kpaxonite Apr 25, 2012 05:25 PM

                                    Use chopped parsley, and cilantro stems when making soup.

                                    Show Hidden Posts