A friend of mine likes to ask this fun getting-to-know-you question: what is your desert island herb? Basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme? Which fresh herb is the one you can't live or cook without?Without a doubt, I'd pick cilantro. Like a squeeze of lemon or lime, its flavor brightens any dish and for me, there is really no substitute. Ironically, I lived for two years virtually cilantro-free on an island — Japan, where the taste of cilantro is almost universally hated. I wouldn't want to do it again.
Yes, I'd probably miss basil or parsley if I wanted to cook up a batch of pasta, or thyme if I wanted to make a French lentil salad, but I'd be even sadder if I had a plate of rice and chana masala without a healthy sprinkling of cilantro on top.
So what's your pick? Which fresh herb could you never live without?
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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