Use it in many Latin-American inspired preparations, such as fresh salsa and guacamole. Cilantro is also frequently used in Southeast Asian cooking, including Thai soups, noodle dishes and classics such as pad Thai.
Cilantro is actually the flower or leaf part of the coriander plant. The seeds are the source of the spice coriander. In salsa and guacamole, cilantro leaves impart a somewhat floral, herbaceous flavor. In other preparations, such as Thai soups, the stems of the plant, not the leaves or seeds, are more desirable, being ground and added to the initial stock. Cilantro is commonly added to hot rice preparations to add another dimension of flavor, sometimes as a counterpoint to fresh lime juice.
Cilantro adds a unique flavor boost to a number of other hot preparations, including crab cakes and stir fries. Try adding cilantro to marinades for various proteins, including beef and chicken, before grilling. Cilantro can also be infused into oils or substituted for basil in a creative twist on pesto sauce. For cold preparations, cilantro can add spin to the flavors of salad dressings, chutneys, cole slaws, pasta salads or mayonnaise. For an added note of freshness and brightness, add cilantro to sour cream before serving with Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos or enchiladas.