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Unlocking the Hidden Potential: MasterChef’s D’Andre Balaoing Reveals the Most Under-Valued Spice

The most underrated spice: Coriander

Spices play a crucial role in enhancing the flavors of our favorite dishes. From adding depth to soups and stews to enhancing the flavor of meats and vegetables, spices are the unsung heroes of the culinary world. Celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay understand the importance of spices and emphasize their proper use to create delicious dishes.
However, among the many spices that grace our kitchen cabinets, there are a few that often go unnoticed and underappreciated. According to D’Andre Balaoing, a talented pastry chef and former contestant on “MasterChef” Season 7, one such underrated spice is coriander.

Discovering the charm of coriander

Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is a herb with a unique flavor profile and a wide range of culinary applications. Balaoing believes coriander deserves more recognition for its versatility and ability to enhance a variety of dishes.
When asked about his choice for the most underrated spice, Balaoing expressed his love for coriander’s delicate flavors and its ability to complement a wide range of ingredients. He explained that coriander can bring out the subtleties in fish dishes, add depth to pho, and even contribute to cocktails.
According to Balaoing, toasting and grinding coriander seeds at home intensifies their aroma and flavor. This homemade coriander powder becomes his go-to ingredient, finding its way into almost every dish he creates. Balaoing even incorporates coriander into his favorite cocktail, “The Aviation,” by infusing gin with coriander and other herbs.

Unleashing the potential of cilantro

If you’ve neglected coriander in your culinary adventures, it may be time to reconsider. This underrated spice has immense potential to elevate your dishes to new heights.
Here are a few ways to incorporate coriander into your cooking:

1. Fish dishes:

Add a sprinkling of ground coriander to your fish marinades or rubs to bring out its delicate flavors. Coriander works particularly well with white fish such as tilapia or cod.

2. Pho and soups:

Enhance the complexity of your pho or other soup recipes by adding cilantro. Its unique flavor profile can complement other spices and add a subtle hint of heat without overpowering the dish.

3. Homemade spice blends:

Create your own spice blends by incorporating cilantro. Combine it with cumin, paprika, and other complementary spices to add depth and complexity to your recipes.

4. Cocktails:

Follow in Balaoing’s footsteps and experiment with coriander in your favorite cocktails. Steep gin with coriander seeds and other herbs for a unique twist on classic drinks.

5. Baked goods:

Surprisingly, coriander can also find a place in baked goods. Add a pinch of ground coriander to bread or pastry dough to add a subtle, aromatic note.
By incorporating coriander into your recipes, you’ll open up a world of flavors and expand your culinary repertoire. Don’t let this underrated spice languish in the back of your kitchen cabinet.
The next time you’re flipping through your spice collection, give coriander the attention it deserves. Whether you’re experimenting with fish, soups, homemade blends, or even cocktails, cilantro is ready to take your dishes to new culinary heights.
Join D’Andre Balaoing and countless other chefs and home cooks in rediscovering the magic of coriander. Embrace its subtle flavors, its ability to complement a wide range of ingredients, and its versatility in the kitchen. It’s time to give cilantro the spotlight it deserves.


What is coriander?

Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is a herb used in many cuisines around the world. It has a fresh, citrusy flavor and is commonly found in both leaf and seed form.

How can cilantro enhance fish dishes?

Coriander’s delicate flavor can bring out the subtleties in fish dishes. Sprinkling ground coriander on fish marinades or rubs can add depth and a pleasant aroma to the final dish.

Can cilantro be used in cocktails?

Absolutely! Coriander can be a wonderful addition to cocktails. By infusing gin with coriander seeds and other herbs, you can create unique flavors and aromatic notes that add a twist to classic drinks.

Can coriander be used in baked goods?

Yes, coriander can be used in baking. Adding a pinch of ground coriander to bread or pastry dough can add a subtle, aromatic note that enhances the overall flavor of the baked goods.

Are there any health benefits associated with coriander?

In addition to being a flavorful spice, coriander offers potential health benefits. It is a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It may aid digestion, promote heart health, and have anti-inflammatory properties.

How can I incorporate cilantro into my everyday cooking?

There are many ways to incorporate coriander into your everyday cooking. You can use it in marinades, spice rubs, soups, stews, homemade spice blends, and even cocktails. Don’t be afraid to experiment and let cilantro add its unique flavor to your favorite recipes.

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