Unlike many fresh herbs, the stems of cilantro are tender enough to eat and can really add to a dish, say Chowhounds. “I used to only use the leaves,” says grayelf. “Then I discovered banh mi where cilantro is chucked in by the handful on the stem. Now I put the stems in whenever I think I can get away with it for the extra crunch and flavour.” The stems have lots of flavor; most people chop or mince them. “The crunch and punch is a really nice contrast,” says eight_inch_pestle.
Cilantro roots also have more intense flavor than the leaves, “which is why they are favored in bold Southeast Asian curry pastes and marinades,” says JungMann. Cilantro with roots attached can sometimes be found at farmers’ markets and at Southeast Asian markets. “Every time I get a bunch with roots I cut ’em off and freeze ’em till I have enough for a recipe,” says grayelf.
Discuss: Cilantro…to use the stems or not?