Culantro is not a misspelling of cilantro. The two herbs are similar in aroma, but different in appearance. In flavor and aroma, culantro is like cilantro, only more so, says Das Ubergeek. He adds that it is stronger and soapier, in the same way galangal compares to ginger. “If you have people who hate cilantro, they’re really going to loathe culantro,” says Das Ubergeek.
Culantro is used throughout the Spanish diaspora in Mexico and Puerto Rico. “Culantro is used in almost everything here in Puerto Rico,” says Echotraveler, especially soffritto. It even shows up in Vietnamese cuisine, often on herb plates, to be torn up in pho or used for wrapping bites of food. Its Vietnamese name is ngo gai, and it’s sometimes known as sawtooth herb. In Mexico, it’s called cilantro extranjero, says kare_raisu.
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