A variety of coriander native to Central America but now grown and very popular in other parts of Latin America and Southeast Asia. Saw-leaf herb goes by many other names including chandon benit, culantro, fitweed, long coriander, Mexican coriander, ngo gai, recao, shadon beni, shadow beni, spiritweed, Tabasco parsley, thorny coriander and wild coriander. It has 4- to 5-inch-long, thick green leaves with jagged edges and a flavor similar to but earthier and stronger than cilantro. Like cilantro, saw-leaf herb has a distinctive flavor that lends itself to highly spiced foods, and it's widely used in Asian and Latin American cooking. It's harder to grow and not as readily available as cilantro but can be found in some Latin American and Asian markets, usually in plastic bags or plastic-wrapped Styrofoam trays. Choose leaves with a bright, even color and no sign of wiltingblack leaves indicate rot. Saw-leaf may be stored for up to 1 week in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Just before using, wash and blot dry with paper towels.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.