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The Spice Routes – Coriander

Spices were from the Antiquity the object of an intense trade by Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, etc. Then a road, said silk route, developed to bring exotic and extraordinary commodities of the Far East to Europe. The Middle Ages witnessed the birth of the Spice Corporation and the Arabs seized the control of the main caravan roads of these invaluable goods from China and India. After gold and silk, it is spices much appreciated by the affluent classes which urge Europe to navigate on seas because in 1453, Constantinople falls to the hands of the Turks which cut the ground road of supply in spices.

In 1498, Vasco de Gamma doubles the Cape of Bonne Espérance then makes road towards India. He will return with cargo of spices and will inaugurate a new commercial road, marked out by commercial counters, which will compete with the ground road of the silk. The « spice route » followed a route of 7000 miles along the western coast of Africa, by-passed the dangerous Cape of Bonne Espérance, went back up for 5000 miles in the channel of Mozambique then through the Indian Ocean.


Coriander is probably the most ubiquitous of spices in the Indian spice rack. It is one of the oldest-known spices in the world, and it’s characterized by its golden-yellow color and gently ridged texture. The seeds are very aromatic with citrus notes.

Whole coriander is used as a base for many spice mixes, and ground coriander is one of the most commonly used ground spices in Indian cuisine. Like cumin, it needs to be dry-roasted until you can start seeing a light golden-brown tinge to the seeds and they start dancing in the pan.

Its round seeds of some millimeters in diameter are used in the preparation of the curry (also coriander roots, sometimes) and they are one of essential spices in the preparation of Chicken Tikka Masala.

Native of Europe and of the Near East, we give coriander seeds antispasmodic properties and help to digestion. It was a renowned aphrodisiac plant in the Middle Ages and, today, it is an important ingredient of Mexican and Vietnamese cuisines.




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