a bunch of cilantro

How To Chop Cilantro

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Many recipes call for “chopped cilantro”.  Cilantro is a great addition in salads, salsas, sauces and some main dishes like enchiladas. So, what is the correct way to chop cilantro?

Cilantro is sold in bunches.  Once you bring a bunch of cilantro home, figure out how much cilantro do you need for your recipe.  Do you need the whole bunch of cilantro?  Half of a bunch?  Just a few pieces?  Take out as much cilantro as you need for your recipe, and refrigerate the rest.

Before you chop the cilantro, you first need to wash the cilantro.  Just rinse the cilantro under cold running water.  If the cilantro looks dirty (has visible soil on it), fill the bowl with cold water and put cilantro in it.  Swoosh the cilantro around in that bowl of water, then take it out, and it should come out clean.

Next, prepare the knife and the cutting board.  Put cilantro on the cutting board as shown below:
a bunch of cilantro

If you are right-handed, put it in the same direction as shown on the above photo – leaves on the right, stems on the left.  If you are left-handed, reverse the position of cilantro.

Start chopping from the right side (if you are right-handed).  First, cut off a tiny piece on the right, then the next tiny piece on the right.  Keep cutting like that, and the knife will be gradually moving to the left.

Here’s the picture of the cilantro chopping in progress:knife chopping the cilantro

When the knife will reach the stems on the left that are without leaves, it’s time to stop chopping.  Discard those remaining stems.  You are done chopping the cilantro!

Here’s the picture of the chopped cilantro on the cutting board:
chopped cilantro photo

Some people chop cilantro in a more tedious way – they manually pinch out all the leaves with their hand, so not a single piece of the stem ends up in your chopped cilantro.  To me, it seems ridiculous.  It’s fine to have some small stem pieces mixed up with the chopped cilantro.  My way of chopping cilantro is quick and easy, and produces nicely chopped cilantro that is great in all the recipes that need cilantro.

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