Sanjeev Kapoor

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Dill hi to hai

I was not much of a dill fan till I tasted this yogurt dip spiced with finely chopped dill. It goes so wonderfully well with a whole lot of starters, be it potato fingers or wafers, kababs or vegetable crudités. And now whenever we have a party at home, this yogurt dip finds prominence in our menu.

Also known as shepu or suva, dill is a wonderful source of calcium. Thin and feathery it has a delicate elegance. However, don’t go by its delicate appearance for it is a storehouse of nutrients. They have minerals, vitamin C and flavanoids and the seeds contain a fair amount of calcium. No wonder then suva is recommended to nursing mothers.

Aids digestion
Dill is good for infants too. In fact the gripe water that we use to quieten little babies is an extract of dill. Babies simply love its’s flavourful, it’s refreshing, has carminative effect and it calms the little ones almost in an instant. In fact lot of people use it as a mukhwas which is a mix of fennel and dill seeds.

Its origins
A native to Mediterranean and East European regions, dill is now grown almost in all tropical countries. Just like coriander leaves, dill flourishes in warm summer climates with well-drained fertile soil.

Dill seeds are used as spice. They resemble caraway seeds in taste and appearance. They are light brown colour, oval in shape with vertical ridges and have an aromatic flavour which is sweet and citrusy are slightly bitter in taste.

Medicinal uses
Dill weed contains certain chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties. It has zero cholesterol and low in calories. It contains many anti-oxidants, vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine, etc., and dietary fibers, which help to control blood cholesterol levels.

Dill leaves and seeds contain many essential volatile oils out of which Eugenol has been used as a local-anesthetic and anti-septic. Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. Dill oil has anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, disinfectant, galactagogue (helps breast milk secretion) and sedative properties.

It is also rich in many vital minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Also in vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A, betacarotene, vitamin-C that is essential for optimum metabolism inside the human body.

Dill in the kitchen
And now I am a convert – from no dill fan to a big dill fan. I like to flavour salads with a sprinkling of finely chopped dill. There is a wonderful potato curry that Alyona makes which she makes it extra special with dill. There is only thing I would like to add here and that is that dill should be added in right amount. Too much can be overpowering and too little may make the dish a tide bland.

Dill seeds are used in breads, stews, rice, root vegetable dishes and most notably, the making of pickles. They taste like a mild version of caraway seeds and can be substituted in breads. These seed also contains a volatile oil that has a relaxant effect on muscles, especially those of the digestive tract. They are best stored in a cool, dry, dark place and used within six months for best flavour. Dill stems and blossom heads are used for dill pickles. The essential oil is used in the manufacture of soaps.

I would say try this wonderful herb and you will soon be singing dil mange more.

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