Saw-Leaf Herb

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Saw-leaf herb or culantro is the New World’s version of coriander leaf (cilantro), still used in the Caribbean but now most commonly found in Asian cooking. There are more than a hundred species of Eryngium, some of them in Europe, but E. foetidum comes from sub-tropical South America, and is easier to grow in hot climates. Culantro has almost the same flavor as fresh coriander leaf, the main aromatic component being a slightly longer fatty aldehyde than coriander’s (dodecanal). Its leaves are large and elongated, with a serrated edge, and thicker and tougher than coriander leaves. They’re frequently used in Vietnamese dishes, often torn and strewn on just before eating.