Cilantro vs Parsley
Alternate names: Coriander leaf, Chinese parsley, koyendoro, Mexican parsley, pak chee, yuen-sai, green coriander, coriander green, dhania
Characteristics: You either love cilantro or hate it. Cilantro’s flavour is described by some as bright and citrusy, and as soapy by others. This herb pops up in the cuisines of India, Mexico, and Vietnam in dishes like dhania chutney, salsa, and pho. The seeds of the plant are called coriander and are used in some pickling recipes, as well as in boerewors, a South African sausage.
What does cilantro look like? Its leaves look like flat-leaf parsley’s, but note the smaller leaves and lankier stem.
Alternate Names: Curly parsley, flat-leafed (Italian) parsley
Characteristics: This unsung hero can do more than just garnish a plate. In French and Italian cooking, many a stock, stew, and soup calls for bouquet garni flavoured by this herb. Generally speaking, flat parsley has a peppery bite whereas the curly kind is relatively bland. And as their names denote, they have textural differences, too. Pastas and egg recipes often benefit from a sprinkling of chopped parsley; the herb’s clean, light flavour cuts down on heavy creaminess and also acts as a palate-cleanser. For something different, try substituting parsley for basil when making pesto.
What does parsley look like? Italian parsley has broad, serrated, green leaves. As the name suggests, curly parsley’s leaves are curled (and also green).