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Global Voices & WHB #16: Cooking with Culantro edit

My latest article has been published at Global Voices: "Global Fusion: Creating Delicious Food one Meal at a Time."

This week's topics cover: the "Madrid Fusion" event, Pork Education, A Consumer Report from Bermuda, Homemade Cheese Making, Brazilian Mango Fever, From Venezuela with Love, Roots to be Cooked, The Year of the Pom, Going South, and Queen lemon Beauty.

We would love to hear your comments!

2_8 Now, my contribution to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging #16: "Cooking with Culantro"

About this plant: "Culantro" (Eryngium foetidum) is a strong flavored, aromatic herb native from Mexico and Central, and South America. It is cultivated widely all over the world, and it is used extensively in Latin American and Asian cooking. In Panama we use culantro to prepare "Sancocho de Gallina" (Panamanian chicken soup),  different types of rice, tamales, marinades, sauces, etc. In Puerto Rico it is used to prepare beans, asopao, soups, stews, etc.

The "culantro" is also known as: "recao", "long coriander", "ngo-gai", "spiritweed", "black benny", "recao de monte", "false coriander", "Mexican coriander", among many others.

1_10 Medicinally, the leaves and roots are used in tea to stimulate appetite, soothe stomach pains, eliminate gases, improve digestion, and as an aphrodisiac!

Today we are sharing a recipe to prepare a delicious "Arroz con Frijoles Negros y Chimichurri de Culantro" (Black Beans and Rice with Culantro Chimichurri). If you can not find culantro in your area, you can substitute "cilantro".

arroz rice culantro cilantro recipe recipes receta recetas chef melissa panama panamanian gourmet panamagourmet diva cookingdiva glogal voices

Ingredients for the rice: (4 servings)

  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1-10 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon culantro chimichurri (recipe follows)
  • 5 slices bacon, chopped


3_8 Cook the bacon under high heat, uncovered, until most of the fat is released and becomes crispy and golden brown (3-4 minutes). Remove the crispy bacon from the pan and set aside.

4_6 Add the onion, tomatoes, chimichurri and the rice to the hot pan and saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to mix all the ingredients and ensure even coating of the rice. Mix in the beans and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes under low heat or until rice is cooked.

Serve warm and garnish with the crispy bacon and fresh culantro leaves. This is the perfect side dish for any kind of meat. Actually it is sooo good that it could be served as a main dish with a salad of fresh greens. Delicious!

For the Chimichurri Sauce, whisk together thoroughly in a small bowl:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

    Stir in:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh culantro
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano, or parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste

    Cover and let stand fro 2-3 hours before serving to allow the flavors to mature.
    This sauce will keep for up to 2 days (covered and refrigerated).

Related post: Esther from the FoodMall.org wrote a very interesting article on this herb: "Culantro: understanding the herb and its applications."

Que lo disfruten!

Chef Melissa

Visit Tasty Design - Chef Melissa's Recipe and Post INDEX

  • by Chef Melissa
  • January 22, 2006
  • 12:50 pm


Picture of Kalyn Kalyn said on...
01.22.06 at 04:31 PM |

Wow, I have really learned something today.  I always thought this was just a different spelling of cilantro.  I love learning things like this.  Also, Melissa thanks you so much for mentioning me in the article in Global Voices.  You’re a great writer.

Picture of Paz Paz said on...
01.22.06 at 04:59 PM |

I love rice and beans and will try this recipe.  Also, I’m eager to try your Chimichurri recipe.  I have been looking for culantro for quite some time but can’t find it. I know it’s around—only in certain stores. In the meantime, I’ve been using cilantro as you’ve suggested.  I can’t wait to find the culantro!  Thanks for this wonderful recipe, as well as the ones below, Melissa!


Picture of lera lera said on...
01.22.06 at 09:14 PM |

Melissa, I am getting to know so many new things from your post. Panama cuisine sounds very nutritionally balanced….Iwish I could get to taste this smile  tahnks for sharing info about culantro .

Picture of adam adam said on...
01.22.06 at 11:10 PM |

I LOVE Frijoles Negros! In all forms.

Picture of J J said on...
01.23.06 at 01:39 AM |

hi melissa, i love black beans and rice - and yours looks simply divine! thanks for sharing

Picture of Pelle Pelle said on...
01.23.06 at 08:35 AM |

Hey Melissa,
Great article. My Panamanian wife and I have had great difficulties finding culantro here in Copenhagen. After all it is difficult being Panamanian without culantro in every meal.

Luckily we discovered it served with my Pho soup in a Vietnamese restaurant. It turns out you can get it here (and I guess other large cities) in Vietnamese and Thai markets.

Many recipes say to use Coriander, but really it doesn’t work.

Fantastic site. I know we’re past christmas, but how about a recipe for a Panamanian Pan Rosca? I know you did the Mexican version.

Picture of melissa_cookingdiva melissa_cookingdiva said on...
01.23.06 at 08:47 AM |

KALYN: I always missed the deadlines to participate in all of the previous WHB! I am happy that I made it this time smile

PAZ: the chimichurri recipe is great for grilled meats, fish, chicken, salad dressing, marinades, rice,...and the best part is that keeps well for up to a month well refrigerated, of course!

LERA: the WHB event is great for sharing this type of info. Good for Kalyn!

ADAM: yes, I have noticed that you love beans! Will post soon a dessert recipe that uses beans and will dedicate it to you, you will see smile

Thank you J!

PELLE: I agree with you 100% We are so used to cook with culantro! Glad to learn that you finally have found it in Copenhagen. The “rosca” recipe that you are looking for is the one that produces a sweet bread?

Picture of Pelle Pelle said on...
01.23.06 at 09:02 AM |

The Rosca is not the sweet one. It’s kind of like Pan de Huevo. Normally there are 2 types for sale one with nuts and one without. I love it with leftover Christmas ham.

BTW. Panama has much better ham than Denmark. We used to buy the bone in one from Berard. Fantastic. Nothing comes close in Denmark and we are famous for our portk.

Picture of terkox terkox said on...
01.23.06 at 03:00 PM |

Que no es CILANTRO En vez de Culantro??

o es algun tipo de modismo??


Picture of melissa_cookingdiva melissa_cookingdiva said on...
01.23.06 at 07:59 PM |

No, que va. El culantro definitivamente es familia del cilantro, pero no es lo mismo. en otros países se le llama “falso cilantro”, “cilantro largo”, etc….Tanto el sabor como el aroma son muy diferentes. A los dos los aprecio por lo que son smile

Picture of Michelle Michelle said on...
01.24.06 at 04:21 PM |

Melissa, you’re such a resource for cool food!  I’ve never heard of culantro!  What is it’s flavor like?  Is it even similar to cilantro, or no?  This is why I love coming to your blog.  Did I tell you that Hawaii (the island of Oahu) is one of our options for moving to after our degrees are finished?  Then I’ll have much better access to some of the ingredients you’ve introduced me to!  LB is interviewing in just two weeks.  The soup sounds really yummy too.

Picture of JENNY .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
01.31.06 at 12:42 PM |


Picture of Jose Puras Jose Puras said on...
06.19.06 at 10:46 AM |

I have fresh culantro seeds, along with lots of information on how to grow culantro, available for all you prospective gardeners. I have had them for years along with other Tropical goodies.

Cordially, Jose Puras

Picture of melissa_cookingdiva .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
06.20.06 at 05:42 AM |

Thank you Jose for the info grin

Picture of yovib .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
09.12.06 at 09:46 PM |

I live out in California and my mom is currently growing a culantro plant (and it’s growing very happily out here). We’ve been using it together with cilantro to make sofrito ..which we use in everything. I make an awesome green enchilda using sofrito:) It’s amazing. Even my mother-in-law (who absolutely HATES cilantro) loves my enchiladas with cilantro and culantro

Picture of Jay .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
04.25.07 at 11:20 AM |

Hello, thanks for the great information you provide. Receipes are great.

I planted 3 culantro plants and they are doing great. The only thing is now it started to sprout flowers and I want to know how to collect the seeds (how you know when they are ready) so I can keep a continious supply of the herb?

Thanks so much.


Picture of Shawn .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
08.07.07 at 06:57 PM |

Hi! I really enjoy your page a lot. I’m from Puerto Rico, and it’s hard for me to not have “recao” in the “habichuelas guisadas.” Recao is pretty much an essential part of the Caribbean and Latin cuisine. I like cilantro, but the flavor is really not the same.

I’m living now in South California and I’d like to know if anybody knows of a place where I can buy the small “plantitas” or the seeds. I’ve been out of Puerto Rico for a year now and it’s hard to not have 100% home tasting food.


Picture of Jan .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
08.26.07 at 06:42 PM |

Melissa, I was so glad to find your recipe for beans and rice and ropa vieja.  I lived in Panama from 1955-1962 and remember fondly the ropa vieja and beans and rice our maid Pola used to make.  My brother and I were talking about it the other day, and I decided to look up the recipes so I could try to re-create a bit of my past—thank you!  (I may have some difficulty finding culantro here in Port Townsend, but we have a couple of Thai restaurants and they may know where to get it.

Picture of Blue .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
02.05.08 at 02:44 AM |

I love your webpage.  I moved to Austin last year and i miss home like crazy!  I was so bummed i missed your presentation here in Whole Foods, any chance you will come again?

Picture of melissa melissa said on...
02.12.08 at 08:47 AM |

Hola Blue! La hubieses pasado de maravilla en la clase. Right now we do not know when I’ll visit Austin, but we will for sure announce it here.  Un abrazo,

Picture of eric .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
02.16.08 at 01:06 AM |

hey melissa como decimos en Panama,  scocho sin culantro no es sancocho o un arroz con culantro o ceviche con culantro. Viva Panama carajo y q viva el culantro, un mensaje de un pasero q vive en Miami

Picture of Randy Mazur .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
03.23.08 at 09:55 AM |

I am looking for culantro seeds…Thanks Randy

Picture of Rosalie Haynes .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
05.26.08 at 01:55 PM |


I would like to know where I could buy culantro plants.  I know where to buy the seeds, from Jose Puras, but would also like some established plants.  There is nothing like the taste of culantro.


Picture of Norma .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
06.23.08 at 04:46 PM |

I bought recao seeds and was not successful at growing them.  I have never been good at growing seeds but I can keep a starter plant growing.  I’m from an area in Michigan where you can’t find recao too often and people tend to give me cilantro instead.  I would love to purchase a few starter plants so I can make my own sofrito and be able to give some to my family.  Can you tell me where I can order recao plants from please?

Picture of Garde .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
07.15.08 at 08:40 PM |

Culantro is a weed.  I remember how my mom used to go to the garden (in Panama) to pick it.  Boy, do I miss it.  I see that now they are available in seed form with detailed instructions on how to grow.  I laugh at the find a shady location.  We did not plant these ugly but tasty weeds.  I would love to be able to cook with some again.

In California but moving to Baja Ca. to the fishing village of San Felipe.  Closest place to going home since my girls are gringas.

Picture of melissa melissa said on...
07.15.08 at 10:13 PM |

Hello garde, thank you for your visit! It is such a fragrant, unique herb—- and the best part is that it probably grows wild in Panama almost in everypnes garden! Thank you for sharing your stories and ideas—-Best,

Picture of Teshie Cianca-Hampton .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
10.22.09 at 06:12 PM |

Muchas gracias por su reportaje.

Picture of Jane .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said on...
11.29.09 at 03:09 PM |

I found a nice healthy Culantro plant in a peat pot at Home Depot for $3.49

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