Curries, marinades, soups, and salsas—although cilantro is used in all of these dishes and more, it remains one of the most debated ingredients in cooking. Despite the fact that this herb elicits a wide range of reactions in the taste buds of food critics, it carries a deep history across continents. Cilantro was found in the Egyptian tomb of Tutankhamen, Neolithic levels of the Israeli Nahal Hemar cave, and the writings of ancient Greek tablets. Read the included recipes to discover some of the ways that cilantro continues to be used and enjoyed all over the world.

— Sophia Harper


Mexican Cilantro Lime Rice


3 cups of long-grained cooked rice (1 cup uncooked)

2 small limes (or 1 large lime)

Zest from 1 lime

1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/4 teaspoon salt (divided)


Cook rice. (In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes.)

Once rice is cooked, fluff with fork.

Add lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, and 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste).

Stir well and serve warm.

Adapted from and


Cilantro Thai Grilled Chicken


2 garlic cloves (coarsely chopped)

1/2 cup cilantro

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts


Place garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a food processor and process until smooth.

Pour marinade over chicken breast and let flavors sink in for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Cook chicken until temperature registers 165° F on the meat thermometer, approximately 20 minutes.

Let chicken breasts rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from


Indian Cilantro Mint Chutney


2 cups packed fresh cilantro sprigs

1 cup packed fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon chopped fresh small green chiles (such as serrano or Thai, including seeds) (or to taste)

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)


Purée all ingredients in a blender, leaving some texture, and serve.

Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Adapted from


Kenyan Kachumbari Salsa


1 red or green chili (de-seeded, cut lengthwise into fine slivers or chopped)

1/2 cup cilantro leaves (finely chopped)

5 small red onions (thinly sliced or chopped)

5 tomatoes (thinly sliced or chopped)

1 cucumber (diced)

Juice from 1 lime

Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

3 tablespoons olive oil (optional)


Place the sliced tomatoes, onions, chili, cucumber, and chopped cilantro into a large serving bowl.

Add the lime juice and olive oil. Toss the mixture.

Season the kachumbari with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve immediately. Enjoy as a salad or a side to nyama choma (a roasted meat dish from East Africa).

Adapted from