rak pakk chee
What is it?
An essential flavor in Thai cooking, cilantro root is just what it sounds like, the roots of cilantro plants. Milder in flavor and aroma than their leafy tops, cilantro roots provide a delicate herbal note and a plush, moist texture to curry pastes, bringing pungent ingredients like chiles, garlic, and galangal into a harmonious, flavor-packed whole.
Don’t have it?
If you can’t find any cilantro root, substitute chopped cilantro stems with a few leaves mixed in.
How to choose:
In American supermarkets, cilantro isn’t usually sold with its roots still attached, though you may occasionally get lucky. Look for cilantro bunches sold with their roots still attached. They may be tiny or up to several inches long. You may also find frozen cilantro root in Asian markets.
How to prep:
Use the root and about 1 inch of the stem portion attached to each root. Wash well and chop finely before grinding with other curry paste ingredients
How to store:
Unused whole cilantro roots can be wrapped well and frozen for two months, so buy them when you see them.
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