Preparing the Cilantro
Preparing and chopping cilantro can be an essential part of your culinary journey when utilizing the herb in any dish. Cilantro has a unique flavor and aroma that can add a lovely touch to any meal.
When chopping cilantro, you should begin by separating the leaves from the stems. This will ensure that the stalks are cut into the same size and that the herb is evenly distributed throughout the dish.
Rinse the cilantro thoroughly
Before you begin chopping up the cilantro, it is important to make sure that you are starting with a clean ingredient. To ensure that it is clean, remove the cilantro from any packaging it may have come in, place it in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. This will help remove any dirt or debris that may be stuck to the leaves. Make sure to shake off any excess water before cutting the cilantro.
Remove the stems
Before you begin chopping, it’s important to remove the stems from the cilantro leaves. The leaves are usually the only part used for adding flavor and texture to dishes, so removing them can help save time and also make sure that they will be evenly distributed throughout your dish.
To remove cilantro stems, hold onto the top of the stem with one hand and use your other hand with a knife pointed downwards to cut through each stem. This can also be done using kitchen scissors if that is more convenient for you. Once all the stems have been removed, carefully lay out each leaf on a clean cutting board for preparation.
From here you can start chopping or mincing your cilantro as desired by following basic cutting techniques such as:
- Starting at one end and working towards another
- In an up-and-down, back-and-forth motion as you rock your knife blade across the board.
The finer you chop or mince your cilantro, the stronger its flavor will be, so adjust according to your personal preference.
Chopping the Cilantro
Chop up cilantro properly to add a fresh, flavorful note to a variety of dishes. Fresh cilantro is a common ingredient in Mexican and Asian dishes, as well as stews, salads and salsas. Learning how to chop it properly will make sure you make the most of this delicious herb.
Let’s explore the best way to chop cilantro and how to use it in your cooking:
Gather the cilantro leaves in a bunch
Gathering the cilantro leaves in a small bunch is the first step of chopping. To do this, start at one end of your cilantro bundle and brush your fingertips from the stem up to the tip of each leaf. As you work, gather more leaves until you have a tight, although not overly tight, bundle. Once gathered, trim off any excess stem below the grouping with a pair of kitchen scissors or a sharp knife.
For larger bunches of cilantro, it’s best to pull apart sections and chop them while still bundled together. Holding just above where you trimmed off the excess stems may help keep everything in order as you cut through all layers of leaves at once—this will prevent them from slipping as they get chopped up into smaller pieces. Slice along perpendicular lines (like ticking horizontal stripes), making even cuts through multiple layers evenly until all leaves have been chopped into smaller parts. The thickness of each piece can depend on preference, but for most dishes 1/4 inch is standard.
Slice the leaves into thin strips
Cilantro, also known as coriander or Chinese parsley, is a fragrant leafy green that adds a bright and citrusy flavor to dishes. To achieve the finest pieces of cilantro, slicing the leaves into thin strips – commonly referred to as chiffonade – is the best way to go.
Chiffonade technique can be used for all herbs with broad flat leaves such as basil, mint and oregano. Start by gathering a bunch of cilantro in your hands and place it top to tail or head to foot on a cutting board in an even pile. Make sure there are no clumps or bunches otherwise you will end up with uneven slices. Holding your blade against the top of the pile so it’s parallel with the cutting board, make gentle slicing motions lengthwise down over each leaf one at a time. Rotate the bunch slightly after each pass until all of your cilantro leaves have been cut into fine ribbons.
The thinner you slice through your herb leaves, the more suited for garnishing they are for soups and salads. If you would like larger pieces for adding bulk to recipes such as dips, salsas or sauces then try chopping them up in bit size pieces using the same technique above but increase pressure on each pass over your herbs until they are diced finely into small cubes.
Chop the strips into small pieces
Chop the cilantro in a slow, rock-chopping action. It’s important to take your time and make sure that each chop is small and uniform in size. Using the tip of your knife, press down on the stem while gently rocking and pushing through it. Move slowly to guarantee evenly chopped cilantro pieces that are roughly 1/8-inch (3mm) wide. The key is to keep the chopping consistent so that each piece of cilantro is perfectly uniform.
A great trick for perfectly chopped cilantro every time is to wipe you knife after each cut – this will help avoid over-chopping and ensure lasting flavor from your freshly chopped herbs!
Finishing the Cilantro
Cilantro is an herb that is widely used in South East Asian dishes. It adds a bright and fragrant flavor, but without proper preparation, it can be overwhelming. To get that perfect balance in your dish, it’s important to learn how to chop cilantro correctly.
In this article, we’ll discuss the best methods for chopping cilantro to get the most out of its flavor:
Place the chopped cilantro into a bowl
Once the stems are removed from the cilantro, thoroughly rinse the leaves in cool water and pat the leaves dry with a paper towel. Use a sharp knife to chop the whole sprigs of cilantro into smaller pieces. Continue until all sprigs of cilantro have been reduced to small bits or a desired size or texture.
Place the chopped cilantro into a bowl for later use as garnish for dishes, such as:
- Grilled vegetables
- Garnish over finish dishes like enchiladas
Add salt, pepper, and other spices to taste
Once you have chopped the cilantro, you can move on to seasoning it. Adding salt, pepper, or other herbs and spices can take your cilantro dish to the next level. Depending on your preference, you can either season before or after cooking. For most dishes, try to season just before serving as this will keep the flavor fresher and more vibrant.
To make sure that the cilantro has been properly seasoned, you should taste it before serving. Add more salt or pepper depending on your personal taste preference and the flavor profile of your dish. If adding extra herbs and spices then add these in small increments until getting just the right balance of flavors is achieved.
Mix the ingredients together and enjoy!
Once you have all the elements of your dish together, mix them together and enjoy! To finish off your dish, simply chop up some fresh cilantro and mix it in. Chiffonade is a term used to describe a technique for chopping herbs or leaves into small strips. It’s relatively easy to do and requires only a sharp knife or kitchen shears. To make the chiffonade:
- Gather several sprigs of cilantro together and hold them firmly in one hand with the stems sticking out of the top.
- With your other hand, begin slicing parallel to the stems from the top down in even segments so that you end up with thin strips or ribbons of cilantro.
- Mix these chiffonade pieces in with your dish and enjoy!