Dhania & Podina // Coriander and Mint leaves
Dhania (Coriander) and Podina (Mint) leaves are commonly used fresh herbs in Pakistani and Indian cuisine; it gets to the point where it seems like one word! (How many of you say dhania-podina in one go?!)
Coriander and mint leaves can be incorporated into the food such as kachumber, salads, raita, chaat, and most famously dhania-podina or hari (green) chutney. The leaves can also be used as a garnish for main meals. Their unique flavor adds a refreshing twist and the gorgeous green hues add color to the food.
Coriander leaves are my personal favorite herb as it’s so versatile and pops up in most cuisines (South and East Asian, Caribbean, Mexican, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern). In terms of Pakistani cooking, I use dhania as a garnish for any curry, use it in chaat, kachumber salad, kebabs and aloo tikki. And other cuisines, I love coriander leaves in salsas, guacamole, burrito bowls, lentil salad, banh mi sandwiches, thai curries, I could go on! I honestly use coriander leaves so much and so it’s always in my fridge. I like to wash and dry the whole bunch and pop the ends in water, it’s like having a little bouquet of coriander in your fridge :) I know people freeze the leaves too but I think they lose their freshness and color. Once I started storing the stems in water, the herbs stay fresh for much longer.
Mint leaves are also used in many different cuisines such as Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian and Western meals. In Pakistani meals, mint leaves can be used for chutney, in kebabs, chaat, raita and a garnish for dishes like biryani. I personally like using mint leaves to infuse water, for fresh mint tea and as a garnish for tagines. You can freeze mint leaves to use later, I find the flavor is so strong that freezing them is ok.
And there we have it, a little introduction to these herbs that commonly show in Pakistani foods. They’ll definitely be coming up more in the recipes to come, especially as I put out more appetizers! The use of fresh herbs is a game changer when it comes to Pakistani starters and snacks, it makes them that more refreshing and appealing!
What’s your favourite use of coriander/cilantro or mint leaves?