Learn how to make, use, and store coriander powder along with its benefits and recipes to try.
What is coriander powder
Coriander powder, also known as dhaniya powder, is a staple powdered spice in most Indian households. This versatile spice is used in almost all Indian cuisines. Dhaniya powder is an integral part of most curry bases and is also a part of several spice blends. It has a mild citrus flavour with a hint of sweetness and earthiness. This distinctive flavour makes it suitable not only for savoury dishes but also for sweet treats when used minimally.
Coriander powder in Indian Languages
|Hindi||Dhaniya powder (pronounced 'paudar')|
Coriander seeds and its benefits
Coriander seeds are the dried fruit of the coriander plant and are used as a spice in cooking. Its taste is described as warm and nutty with citrus flavours. These round light brown seeds are used not just in Indian cuisine, but also in Middle Eastern, Latin, and Asian cuisines.
Coriander seeds are known to be associated with several health benefits like maintaining blood sugar levels, improving bone health, and helping with digestion, to name a few. This aromatic spice is known to have a cooling effect. They contain phytonutrients like dietary fibre, iron, magnesium, and manganese. It also helps improve skin and facilitates hair growth.
How to make coriander powder
Making coriander powder involves two main steps - sun-dry or roast the seeds, and grind the seeds. Grinding can either be done in a spice grinder or a mortar pestle.
Roasting the coriander seeds helps in removing any moisture content from it and also helps release the oil from the seeds making the powder very aromatic and flavourful. Ground coriander loses its flavour if not stored correctly. It is best to roast and grind a small batch of coriander seeds and use it.
Sun-drying the coriander seeds: This is the ancient and traditional way and lets the coriander seeds dry naturally. Spread them on a wide plate or tray. Place them under the sun for one to two days until they are aromatic. Make sure you place the seeds in a clean and dry place and cover them loosely with a muslin cloth.
Roasting the coriander seeds: To roast, heat a thick bottom pan and roast the coriander seeds on low heat for 6-8 minutes. They will turn aromatic and get a slightly darker colour. Turn off the heat and transfer them to a plate for cooling.
Grinding coriander seeds: Grind the coriander seeds in a spice grinder or Indian mixie into a fine powder. Some recipes call for having the coriander ground coarsely, like kadai paneer. In such a case, you can also use a mortar pestle to grind it.
Recipes to try
I use coriander seeds in many home-style curries along with other powdered spices like cumin powder and turmeric powder. Here are some recipes where coriander powder is an important ingredient and cannot be skipped.
Tips and tricks
Pick the stones, dried stem or any dirt before roasting or sun-drying the coriander seeds.
Buy coriander seeds that are crisp and dry, with no signs of dullness.
Roast the coriander seeds on low heat as they tend to burn quickly. Keep stirring occasionally when roasting.
Once the seeds are roasted, transfer them to a wide plate or tray immediately for cooling. If you leave them in the pan, they will continue to roast because of the heat in the pan and may burn.
Make sure the coriander seeds are cooled completely before grinding. This will help get rid of any moisture which can spoil the powder quickly.
How to store coriander powder
Make sure the coriander powder is cooled completely before storing. Store it in an air-tight container. Coriander powder can be stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and even in the freezer. If you are storing it at room temperature, place the powder in an air-tight container and store it in a cool, dark and dry place. Do not store it in direct sunlight or very close to heat (for example, near a stove) as this may lead to it losing its aroma and flavour. Always use a dry and clean spoon to handle the spice powder.
The freshly made powder stays aromatic for up to one year in the freezer. You can use it directly from the freezer without the need to defrost. If you plan to make a large batch, portion it and keep a part of it at room temperature. Store the rest in the freezer so that it stays fresh for longer.
How to grow coriander
The coriander plant is one of the most beneficial plants that can be easily grown. Every part of the plant - leaves, seeds, roots - is used in cooking. The flowers too are beneficial.
Growing coriander plants is easy and rewarding. Coriander is planted from late spring to early summer. It must be planted in a spot that sits mostly in full sun and has a moderate water requirement. You can begin harvesting the leaves in 30-45 days. By mid-summer, you should be able to get coriander leaves. Snip the leaves frequently. This not only gives you an aromatic herb but also encourages the growth of the plant. Cilantro is one of the quickest crops to grow and they begin to bolt when they finish growing. Depending on the temperatures, cilantro can start bolting as early as four to six weeks in hot locations. Bolting is the process where the plant begins to produce flowers and fruits quickly.
The coriander seeds can be harvested once the fruits are dry and turn brown. Cut the stem off and shake it so that the dried fruits fall off. It is best to place the stem on a clean cloth or tray so that you can gather the seeds easily. Pick any remaining dried stems before storing the seeds.
Coriander is the dried seed or fruit which is used as a spice and cilantro is fresh leaves that are used as a herb.
Coriander seeds are easily available in Indian stores outside India. They are also available in many supermarkets in the spice section. Many online stores sell them too. Coriander seeds can also be bought in stores that have Middle-Eastern and African products.
Coriander powder has a distinct flavour and is difficult to replace. While it is difficult to substitute its pungent and earthy flavour, if you are unable to source coriander, use garam masala. Coriander powder is a part of garam masala and will add some amount of flavour.
No. They are both different spices and have very different taste profiles.
Again, no. Coriander powder is cooked well because of which it adds taste and flavour to the dish. Coriander leaves are used more like a garnish or as a herb to make chutney or masala base.
Check the above section to see how to grow coriander plant and seeds.
Yes. However, it is best to make a small batch if you are not roasting it as the coriander powder will lose its flavour and aroma quickly if not roasted.
See storage tips above to store coriander powder fresh for longer. Also, remember to always use a clean and dry spoon to handle it. Any moisture or dirt can reduce the shelf life.
Coriander powder is an important spice in every Indian kitchen and is used in several ways. It plays an important role in making flavourful dishes and usually cannot be replaced by another spice. Making the powder at home is not only simple and quick, it is the best way to add its flavour to any dish. If you are unsure of how to use it, start with adding a teaspoon of fresh dhaniya powder to soups and stir-fry. Use fresh powder to season salads or roasted vegetables/meat too. Since it imparts a very mild citrus flavour, you can add a very small pinch in baking sweet treats too to enhance the flavour.
Click here for more cooking basis recipes.
How to make coriander powder
- 1 cup coriander seeds
- Clean the coriander seeds by picking any stores or dried stem
Sun drying / Roasting
- To sun-dry, the coriander seeds, spread them on a wide plate or tray, and sun-dry for one to two days
- Alternatively, dry roast the coriander seeds on low heat for 10-12 minutes until it is aromatic and slightly golden
- Keep stirring ocassionally
- Let it cool completely
- Once the roasted coriander seeds cool, add it to a spice grinder or Indian mixie
- Grind into a fine powder
- Store in an air-tight container
Click here to watch the coriander powder web story.