Monday, May 4, 2015

You Can't Make Tex-Mex Food Without the C&C

Enchiladas garnished with cilantro
By Steve Dunham (Flickr: Enchiladas Suizas) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tomorrow, May 5th, is Cinco de Mayo. This is a holiday that is celebrated in Mexico and throughout the United States, especially my native Texas. I bring this up because I am seriously craving some Mexican food, Tex-Mex as we call it.

 I have promised some folks here in Serbia that I would prepare some fine Tex-Mex food complete with chips, salsa and margaritas. I have found all the ingredients needed except C&C: Cumin and Cilantro.

Okay, I do have the cumin. I brought it with me when I came here. Cumin is a spice that is found in Mexican food and gives it that distinct, unique flavor and aroma that is only found in Mexican food. If it is sold here, it must be maybe in Belgrade. Since I am two hours away from Belgrade and not familiar with the city, I couldn't just go to Belgrade for cumin.

Cilantro, from what I have found, does not exist in this country. Again, if it does, it is in Belgrade, maybe Novi Sad, and I would have to go on a treasure hunt for it.Cilantro is an herb that looks very much like parsley but has an entirely different taste. Again, it is what makes Mexican food have it's special flavor kick. Do not even bother making salsa without cilantro because it will just taste like ketchup or something. (I bought some "salsa" in a jar I found at IDEA and though the manufacturer made an effort, it was basically ketchup.)

I did find out that cilantro is the plant that comes from a coriander seed, however, coriander is not cilantro. If that makes sense. Coriander is available here as a spice. Coriander is a seed. If you plant the coriander, the green part of the plant that emerges is the cilantro and it has an completely different taste than what the coriander tastes like.

Whew! I plan to take coriander seeds and grow them into cilantro. Maybe that will work, and if that is the case, then why can't cilantro be grown and made available here?

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