Coriander seed is a staple seasoning in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. In India, coriander seed is briefly pan roasted and eaten whole as a snack known as dhana dal. The seeds are also dry roasted to release aroma and flavor before it is ground and added to curries or other foods.
Coriander is the fruit (seed) of the cilantro plant, a popular culinary herb in southwestern U.S. and Mexican cooking. The name for the seed is adapted from koris, the Greek word for “bed bug” and is a reference to the scent of fresh cilantro leaves reputedly being similar to that of linens infested with this urban parasite. The seed, however, does not.
In terms of flavor, coriander seed is equally far apart from cilantro. The whole seed has an earthy and citrusy taste that deepens with cooking. It is best used whole or freshly ground braised or slow-cooked meats, vegetables and/or beans.