Because these two fresh herbs look similar, you could easily mistake Chinese parsley for cilantro or vice versa. However, as similar as they appear, there are some significant differences between Chinese parsley vs. cilantro.
What Is Chinese Parsley?
Chinese parsley is a leafy biennial herb native to the Mediterranean region. It’s also a member of the Apiaceae family. What’s more, it mainly grows at the start of spring when there is no more frost.
What Is Cilantro?
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a leafy herb with delicate leaves and stems that belong to the Apiaceae family. It grows predominately in cold climates in spring and autumn. In addition, it grows well in medium to moist soil with full sunlight.
Chinese Parsley Vs. Cilantro
The properties of Chinese parsley and cilantro are vastly different, although they can be used in similar cuisines. Here are a few differences to mention.
Chinese parsley is versatile, which means you can use it in almost any recipe to balance other ingredients. For example, you can add Chinese parsley to soups and stocks while boiling.
Whereas cilantro works best in traditional Mexican and Indian cuisines. Its distinctive flavor is key to elevating guacamole and salad dressings by adding a zesty touch. You can also use it as a garnish before serving your curry dish.
Due to the aldehydes compound found in cilantro, it occasionally tastes a bit soapy. But for the most part, cilantro has a rich, lemony flavor that is stronger than Chinese parsley. In contrast, Chinese parsley has a mild peppery flavor with a grassy aftertaste.
Chinese parsley is described as having thicker, flat curlier leaves that are smaller and pointy. Conversely, cilantro has flat, almost feathery leaves with a three-lobed shape. The leaf tips are more rounded than Chinese parsley.
In terms of color, cilantro has a deeper green color than Chinese parsley. And Chinese parsley is a distinctively fresh, lighter shade of green.
They both contain vitamins B, C, and K. But Chinese parsley contains 11% Vitamin B compared to cilantro’s 4%. In addition, cilantro only has 13% Vitamin C, whereas Chinese parsley has 62%.
Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting, is more prevalent in Chinese parsley than in cilantro. Conversely, cilantro has antibacterial properties and is packed with iron and potassium.
Primarily grown as edible leaves, these herbs differ significantly in their aroma. For example, cilantro is known for its powerful, citrusy scent. On the other hand, Chinese parsley has a mild, grassy, and gentle scent.
Chinese parsley and cilantro are leafy herbs that might look identical but have very different flavors and uses. Knowing the difference between Chinese parsley vs. cilantro will help you understand when best to use either.