RECIPE Dill leaves add a delightful flavour to pulav
Dill is a herbaceous annual with pinnately-divided leaves. The ripe, light brown seeds and the leaves emit a pleasant aroma. Both the seeds and the leaves are valued as a spice.
Both the seeds and the oil are used in indigenous medicinal preparations. Dill is commonly used in the preparation of dill water, given to children suffering from flatulence. It is also used to perfume soap. It is a stimulant, aromatic, carminative and stomachic. Dill is known for acting as an antibacterial and antispasmodic agent and as a diuretic. However, its main purpose is for calming the digestive system. The essential oil found in dill helps relieve intestinal spasms and gripes. Hence, it can be found in many gripe water mixtures. It is also used in cold preparations.
Dill seed is used both whole and ground as a condiment in soups, salads, processed meats, sausages and pickling. Dill stems and blossom heads are used for pickles. Fresh dill should always be stored in the refrigerator either wrapped in a damp paper towel or with the stems placed in a container of water. Since it is fragile, even if stored properly, it will only keep fresh for about two days. Dill can be frozen, either whole or chopped, and stored in airtight containers. Alternatively, the dill leaves can be frozen in ice cube trays covered with water or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews. Dried dill seeds should be stored in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep fresh for about six months.
Now, for a recipe.Dill Leaves Pulav
Basmati rice: 2 cups
Peas: half cup (Use dried peas, washed and soaked for 6-8 hrs)
Dill leaves: 1.5 cups (chopped finely
Garlic: 3 big pods
Ginger: 1 inch
Green chillies: 10
Bay leaf: 2
Cinnamon: 4 one-inch sticks
Whole cardamom: 2
Oil: 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Method: Wash the basmati rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Cut the tomatoes into big chunks and grind it along with ginger, garlic and green chillies and a little water. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel; add cloves cinnamon, bay leaves and cardamom fry for a minute. Add the sliced onions and sauté till they turn translucent. Now add the peas and a cup of dill leaves. Fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the ground paste and fry for 5 minutes. Add 3.5 cups of water and salt and bring it to the boil. Add the drained rice and the remaining half cup of dill leaves; mix well. Let it cook with the lid on. Once the rice is cooked, wait for 10 minutes and serve with raita/potato chips.