>> Jul 15, 2014
Indian cuisine is renowned the world over for using a huge array of spices, herbs, condiments and sides in order to create decadent meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While countries all over the world try to emulate this, it is, and always will be, Indian cuisine which truly makes the most of using a wide variety of ingredients in single dishes.
One such herb is dill – a light, fragrant herb which can be used to impart a delicate flavour to a wide range of foods. Traditionally used in the west when served with fish, for example, this herb is used in a number of different dishes in India and eastern Asia. The herb itself is made up of thin fern-like leaves which look very similar to fennel. Like with a number of herbs, dill is best used fresh as it tends to lose its flavour and can go limp fairly rapidly once picked.
In India, dill goes by a number of different names – it is known as shepu in Konkani, savaa in Hindi and soa in Punjabi. Across all these states and cultures, dill is not only used in cooking but also as an after-dinner digestive. It also contains high levels of calcium, manganese, magnesium and iron.
AalooShepu Chi Bhaaji
This is a vegetarian dish from Maharashtra which is incredibly simple but really packs a punch when it comes to flavour. It also only takes 10-15 minutes to prepare and cook, so is very popular. For this dish, potatoes are chopped into cubes and cooked alongside garlic, red chillies, mustard seeds, turmeric powder and – most importantly – two large bunches of fresh dill.
This is actually a side dish enjoyed across India and it uses dill to make a cooling accompaniment to a delicious pilaf, for example. Fresh yoghurt, cucumber, sugar, chaat masala and red chilli powder are all combined along with a large bunch of fresh dill to create a light, cooling dish. It is similar to the Greek side tzatziki, which is also made with yoghurt, cucumber but often uses mint rather than dill.
This dish originates from north Karnataka and really uses a lot of dill to make a pungent dish. Onions and tomatoes are combined with mustard seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, a green chilli, garlic, coriander and toor dal – as well as a substantial amount of dill – to be served with some rice and a freshly baked chapati.
Chicken & Dill Masala
This is a fabulous non-vegetarian dish which combines succulent pieces of chicken with fresh dill and a thick tomato gravy. Dill is partnered with coriander to create a strong, herby taste. The chicken is marinated in salt, chilli powder and turmeric,meanwhile cumin seeds, garlic paste, onions, ginger, tomatoes and dill are cooked in butter so the flavours can intermingle. Once the tomatoes have been well-cooked, the marinated chicken is added along with garam masala and pepper until the chicken is cooked through.
There are a huge variety of dill inspired recipes from across India. If you want to try some of these delicious dishes, then visit one of London’s top fine-dining Indian restaurants to experience and savour this exotic, light and refreshing herb cooked to perfection with the best accompaniments.