May Spice Rack Challenge ~ Coriander

Oh, she may be pretty, but you can't trust her.

I’ll be the first to admit that cilantro is my nemesis.  Not in the good way either.  Not in the way that you want to use it but you’re not sure how and you experiment with it but can’t seem to conquer it and bend it to your will.  A challenge is always a good thing.  Flexibility makes you broaden your horizons and think about things in new ways.  Stretching yourself is good.  Cilantro, however is not good. 

Cilantro is my nemesis in the full sense of the word.  According to Merriam-Webster, a nemesis is one who inflicts retribution or vengeance.  Cilantro was put on this earth to punish me.  For what, I do not know, but that it does I am sure.  I hate cilantro.  It tastes like soap.  And not good, homemade, bacon-soap either.  Something horrid and chemical-riddled like Irish Spring or Dial.  Cilantro has ruined more salsas and chutneys for me than I care to count.  Apparently I’m not the only one that hates cilantro; this blog: is devoted entirely to the loathing of the icky stuff.  So, when I saw that coriander was the spice of the month for the Spice Rack Challenge (Hm.  Maybe there is a marketing niche here: Spice of the Month Club, anyone?) I was distraught.  Coriander is unfortunately, the offspring of a cilantro plant.  Anyone Any food with genes as bad as cilantro’s can’t possibly turn out well. 

I’ve purposely avoided coriander for years because I’m afraid of its fiendish lineage.   So, I put this challenge off as long as possible and then decided that something sweet might help mask the flavor that I assumed would be horrible.  Luckily for me, coriander isn’t nearly as wretched as her mother.  In fact, she’s actually quite pleasant. 

I halved the recipe because I was afraid it would be horrible and noted other changes as well.

Curry Coriander Shorties Courtesy of epicurious


  •  1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/ cup sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7/8 cup all-purpose flour


(The original recipe called for the spices to be toasted.  I did not toast mine so I can’t tell you if it is worth the time it takes to complete that step.) Preheat oven to 350°Fwith racks in upper and lower thirds.(I baked mine in the middle and didn’t rotate.) Blend butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt with a rubber spatula. Whisk together flour and spices, then blend into butter mixture with spatula. Form 1-inch balls of dough and arrange 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased large baking sheets. With side of a floured pencil or chopstick, press an X into top of each cookie, gently flattening to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  I just shmeared the batter into the bottom of a glass baking dish.  Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks to cool.

While I wasn’t disgusted by the flavor, I have never understood the attraction to shortbread.  Sure, it’s easy and doesn’t taste terrible, but it’s typically dry.  And crumbly.  If I ever decide to bake cookies with coriander again I’ll probably try a nice sugar-cookie base.  Actually, a coriander-curry sugar cookie with a ginger frosting would probably be amazing.

I took pictures, but they were very un-exciting.  The golden color from the yellow curry didn’t really show and they just looked like plain shortbred squares so you’ll have to use your imagination.



Filed under food, Spice Rack Challenge

13 responses to “May Spice Rack Challenge ~ Coriander

  1. lifefullofwhimsy

    Hmmm I actually really like cilantro. Usually I chop it up, put it in mayo and add some cumin to put on my turkey sandwiches. 🙂

  2. I love – make that LOVE – cilantro. I have become aware of the fact that most people, or so it seems, either love cilantro or hate cilantro. No one seems to shrug their shoulders and say that cilantro is just OK. I am one who will use cilantro in most anything: salsas, beans, casseroles, pesto, salad dressing, infused in vinegar and/or oil. I am always happy when I have cilantro either growing in a garden or fresh picked and in the kitchen waiting for me to do something with it. I will eat it plain while I am making something to add it to. I had not added it to mayo – will definitely do that this week. 😀

  3. I’m so glad I’m not alone! I hate it too. It’s so gross!

  4. If your shortbread is dry either you bought it from the store or you’re not adding enough butter. Seriously. Don’t rule it out just yet. I make ’em with a baker’s ratio, and they are buttery and delectable.

  5. I totally get the “I hate cilantro club” I am a reformed member. I used to order a seafood dish at a local Mexican restaurant and about half the time I would forget to tell them to hold the cilantro – it ruined the meal for me!! A few years later cilantro became very popular among the folks I know – they were adding it to everything, especially salsa. After my initial ick I have found that I now LOVE it. Weird? Yes, I know but there it is, I kind of wish the restaurant was still open so I could try my favorite dish WITH the cilantro.

  6. I used to hate cilantro, too, but since I also hate to make a recipe (at least the first time around) without sticking strictly to it, I’ve gotten used to it. (If you want to believe Harold McGee, there’s no such thing as an “anti-cilantro” gene–you just have to acclimate yourself to the stuff. Whether it’s worth the effort is something else altogether. 🙂 ) I also have to agree with Melissa above–if you add enough butter to shortbread, it definitely won’t be dry!

  7. Good for you going the sweet route on this one. I really wanted to, but I just didn’t have enough time and am a little tired of baked goods this time of year. I just made some shortbread from the flour cookbook and added rose petals and spruce tips. They were divine, if you ever find yourself looking for a non-dry and crumbly shortbread.

  8. I heard a story on NPR many years ago. The threesome who were doing the research were hoping they would find out that cilantro-tastes-like-soap was a sign of some kind of super-taster status. Turns out, it’s due to the inability to detect certain aromatic compounds that it gives off.

    So yes, there is a physiological reason for it. And it probably accounts for why powdered coriander doesn’t have the same effect – it comes from the seeds, not the leaves.

    Tricia (who never got around to the May challenge :^(

  9. Angela, I know of no other way to reach you except through the comment section of your blog – right here. I need a school to volunteer for school gardens (I’m a retired 4th grade teacher:) and I love Montessori and I love to work with kids – I miss my own students. You can email me – if you’re interested – at

    BTW – along with both a BA and an M.Ed. in education I also have earned a PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate).

  10. Hope you will join us for the July Spice Rack Challenge!

  11. Pingback: Derby. Work. Life. And modifying my 101 | Notes From a Country Girl Living in the City

  12. Pingback: Derby. Work. Life. And modifying my 101. | Notes From a Country Girl Living in the City

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