HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Cilantro...to use the stems or not?

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)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. 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

      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. 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

        Yup.

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

        1. 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

            Parsley stems? No soup for you!!

            1. re: Veggo

              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

                Perhaps you know it as coriander?

                1. re: iliria

                  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

                    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. 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

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

                2. 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

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

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

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: TheHuntress

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

                      1. re: Bada Bing

                        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

                          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

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

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

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Rmis32

                          This!

                        2. I use the stems. They have good flavor.

                          1. 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

                              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

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

                            2. 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. 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. Use them

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: chefj

                                    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

                                      Agreed.
                                      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. Use chopped parsley, and cilantro stems when making soup.