CORIANDER: We serve it all the time at The Humble Dumpling and happily for me it’s rare these days to find someone who doesn’t love it.

At The Humble Dumpling HQ in Melbourne, we have only a small garden. I moved from 15 acres of glorious growing land to a small courtyard, but I always try to grow something to pick every workshop. As Autumn passes and Winter starts, there are still plenty of edible flowers and leaves to pick, Chillies, Spring onion, Chives and Coriander. This post is about growing and using the leaf, stalk and stem of Coriander. (also known as Cilantro or Chinese parsley)

Growing Coriander – 

Autumn is a good time to start planting Coriander

The coriander in my garden at the moment has grown up from last years plants. I planted in Spring Sept/Oct (Melbourne) and it grew happily for a few months until it went to seed over Summer. In early Autumn it start to regrow from seed and I am picking it again now in April/May. 

So get on out there and start. In the garden or pots. Seed or seedling, but if you’ve left the planting too late, go with seedling. Try to avoid disturbing the roots too much and I like to plant close together so they can support each other as they grow. Add some compost to the soil before planting.

If you’ve missed this Autumn, you will need to wait until Spring to plant.

Going to Seed?

I hear lots of people have problems with their coriander going to seed. This is usually because it was planted during the summer or warmer months and it just bolts to seed. Another reason can be if it is left too dry. It needs cooler weather to grow.

Is there anyone out there growing micro herbs?

I’m going to set up a tray and grow indoors in front of a sunny winter window. Anyone got any tips for this in Melbourne Winter? Soil or Hydoponic?


Use all parts of the plant: leaves, stalk and roots and seeds. The roots are important in Thai cooking and are a must in curry pastes and fish cakes.

I tend to just keep picking the leaves and stem (if young) as I need them. Add chopped to soups as a final topping, and also add to curries in the final minutes before serving. Add a handful over the top of your steamed fish before serving.

Here’s one of my favourite recipes using Coriander.

Rice Noodles with Beef, Beansprouts & Coriander
  1. 450gm        fresh rice noodles (pre-cut)
  2. 150gm        beef (rump, skirt, topside, fillet)- sliced very thin and 5cm strip
  3. ½ cup         coriander – leaves and stem chopped- 2-3cm (reserve some for garish)
  4. ½ cup         spring onion – cut into 5cm sections
  5. 1 cup          bean sprouts – rinsed and drained
  6. 2-3 Tab       oil (rice bran, veg, peanut)
  7. 3-4slices     fresh ginger
  8. 1 1/2 Tab    oyster sauce extra
  9. Seasonings
  10. 1 Tab          light soy
  11. ½ Tab        oyster sauce
  12. 1Tab           Shaoxing rice wine (Chinese rice wine)
  13. ½ tsp          salt
  14. ½ tsp          potato or cornstarch
  1. Put the fresh noodles in a lge bowl and pour warm/hot water over them. Let them sit for a few minutes and as it cools use your hands to separate the strands. At this stage, don’t worry if they’re not all fully separate. You want them to separate but not break. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Marinate the beef strips in the seasoning, stir really well & set aside
  3. Heat wok till hot. Add 2Tab oil till hot and slightly smoking
  4. Add ginger for a few seconds then add the beef. Toss on high for 2-3mins until 80% cooked and still slightly pink. Remove from wok and set aside
  5. Add a little more oil to wok (down the sides too) and when hot add spring onion for a few secs
  6. Add the noodles and toss carefully so you don’t break them for a few minutes until they soften and fully separate
  7. Sprinkle a little water or oil over them if they start to stick to pan
  8. Add sprouts and meat, tossing through and finally the coriander. This should only take a couple of minutes
  9. Add extra 1 1/2 Tab oyster sauce and quickly toss to combine
  10. Remove and discard ginger slices before serving. Garnish with some fresh coriander
  1. This is meant to be a simple dish but if you want more oomph, add some garlic and or chilli when you add the ginger. Or you could add some more sauce and thickening if you want a really saucy dish.
  2. The noodles should be firm, soft and chewy.
  3. Enjoy! and let me know if you've tried this recipe and how it went. Any tips?
The Humble Dumpling

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