I have a love hate relationship with coriander. Growing up, I detested the fresh herb and would drive the Mother crazy throwing out every piece of coriander in my bowl. As an adult, I still find the taste of coriander really vile and the Mother has never stopped scolding me for discarding the coriander in dishes we eat.
When I started cooking, I would only use coriander for garnishing. My relationship with the pungent herb only changed when I became interested in Thai food. To be specific, it is the Thai combined usage of pepper, coriander roots and garlic in marinades and stir fries. On its own, coriander smells like a gas leak to me but when pounded into a paste with pepper and garlic, something magical happens. The first time I made the paste, I found the aroma so enticing I could not stop sniffing my fingers. I realised that I like using coriander roots and seeds to season food, just do not make me eat the leaves.
Other than Thai braised pork belly, my favourite use of the coriander, pepper and garlic paste has to be for Gai Yang. David Thompson's Thai Food has a good, authentic recipe and I love to add lemon grass or kaffir lime leaf to the marinade for extra zing. I will roast the chicken in the oven at 200 degree Celsius for about 20 minutes and then use the broiler to crisp up the skin. Not quite like the street vendors in Thailand who barbecue the chicken on a charcoal grill but easy and fuss free for the home cook.