I tried dill subzi only a few years ago, my father was not fond of it so it was never made at home.

After getting bored of the same green leafy vegetable varieties, I decided to try it and ended up enjoying its distinct tangy taste. Dill, known as sowa in Hindi and shepu in Marathi, has a strong flavour — that is why it is used as a herb in most parts of the world — think dill pickles. It’s also why you cannot have the strong-flavoured dill subzi too often. Dill belongs to the parsley, bay leaf and cumin herb family. Since we grow ample amounts, we can make it into a subzi. Dill is packed with nutrients and you should try using it in your cooking. If one bunch of dill seems too much, then use half. You can dry, freeze or simply share the remaining half.

3 main benefits of dill

  1. It is an excellent plant-based source of calcium and consuming healthy amounts of calcium is one of the best ways to strengthen bones and prevent bone loss.
  2. Because dill contains anti-bacterial properties, it can be used to fight off infections internally and externally. It has “bacteriostatic” or the ability to protect against bacteria overgrowth.
  3. Dill is anti-carcinogenic. The activity of dill’s oils make it a “chemoprotective” food that can help neutralise particular types of carcinogens, such as the benzopyrenes which can be found in cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and the smoke produced by the burning of garbage.

Dill Ambode (Pakoras of the South)

I put these in my toaster oven and sprinkled olive oil on top but you can deep-fry them if you like. If you are baking them, make the balls a bit flatter, rather than round for even cooking. When grinding the chana dal, do not grind too smoothly; you should be able to bite a chana or two.

Ingredients
1 medium Onion, chopped fine
1 cup Chana dal
1 tbsp Dill leaves, chopped
1 tbsp Rice flour
3 (or to taste) Green chilies
1 tsp Ghee
Salt to taste
Hing (asafoetida)… a pinch
Oil for sprinkling or deep frying

Method

  1. Soak chana dal for 2 hrs. Drain and grind coarsely with the green chilies (with no water) and pour into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the chopped dill leaves, onion, hing and salt to taste. Mix the rice flour with ghee and add to the mixture (this helps maintain the crisp texture). Mix well and make small balls.
  3. Heat oil. Once it is hot, flatten each of the balls and drop into the oil and fry until browned and crispy. Alternately to bake, make flatter balls, sprinkle oil on top of ambodes and bake for about 15 minutes on 180 degrees Celsius. Turn over and bake for 10 more minutes. This makes about 15-18 ambodes.

Lemon-Dill French Beans

This dressing goes with any salad, not just beans.

Ingredients
1/2 kg French beans
1 large Onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Minced dill
4 tsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1 tbsp Mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add green beans, cover and cook until tender-crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk dill, shallot, oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the beans and toss to coat.
  3. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving to blend flavours.