Coriander - The Marmite of Himalayan Herbs
There is nothing so polarising at our stall as coriander - the Marmite of Himalayan herbs.
I had no idea how much emotion a little green leaf could produce until I met the coriander haters, a community active enough to have organised themselves online in a bid to eliminate coriander "and restore a bit of truth and beauty to our world". The ihatecilantro.com website features passionate poetry on the subject, and associated merchandise including t-shirts and iPhone cases. ihatecoriander.org is an even slicker and more commercial approach to the same theme.
Apparently, if you are one of the up to 20% or so of people who cannot tolerate this leafy green herb, coriander tastes like soap. There must be Tibetans for whom this is the case, but I have never met them. Here in Europe, I hear it all the time.
Our customers tell us it's a genetic thing, but digging a little deeper it would seem that there is also a learned aspect to coriander loathing, and that cultural factors play a role too. If you are not used to it you are more likely to dislike it.
In Tibet we use a lot of coriander in our cuisine. Like spinach and lettuce, it is a cool weather crop that grows well in year-round mild conditions.
Tibetan people say that coriander is a superlative medicine. It helps us to digest the proteins in our meat-rich diets, and is an incredible source of antioxidants. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals, and has a long history of therapeutic use.
Nobody in Tibet has ever heard of calories (we simply don't break food down in this way), but to the seeker of low-calorie options, coriander delivers flavour and nutrients in guilt-free spades. If you can tolerate it, chuck it on (and it doesn't half make our curries look pretty):