Coriander has to be one of the most polarising ingredients used in cooking. There seems to be two camps; the coriander lovers or the coriander haters. The coriander haters even have a Facebook page dedicated to the cause with over 185,000 members.
Coriander is used in many cuisines across the world from Asian, Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines. Coriander can be described as fresh, fragrant, citrusy, soapy or like dirt.
Small studies have found the taste of coriander is related to genetics. Scientists have linked a specific gene located on chromosome 11, to disliking the taste of coriander which affects the body’s ability to smell and taste compounds which give coriander its distinctive flavour. Interestingly, more women tend to link the taste of coriander to soap or dirt compared to men.
Another study has also linked ethnicity to liking or disliking the herb. A group of 1381 people were surveyed, with 17% of Caucasians, 7% of South Asians and 1% of Hispanic and Middle Easterners disliking the herb. This could also be linked to exposure to coriander, as it is an ingredient in many traditional dishes such Mexican Salsa or Vietnamese Pho. Coriander does not feature in traditional western dishes such as a lamb roast or bangers and mash therefore Caucasians have most likely not have developed the taste for it.
Alyce Rees – Accredited Practising Dietitian/ Personal Trainer
Food in Action – Dolphins Health Precinct, Redcliffe
Phone: 07 3880 3729
Email: [email protected]