Monday, July 20, 2015

Dill Dal Fry; my experiments with Dill; Meatless Monday

While I have always known that there exists an herb Dill, I haven't ever cooked it. This is because where I am from which is Southern India, dill is not something that is available or cooked. I know that a lot of Maharashtrians and some North Indians cook it on a regular basis. It is called Sheppu bhaji in Marathi. While I was at the Farmer's market the other day, I came across this bunch of dill that was being sold at an extremely economical price. I couldn't resist. I decided to try it. I reached out to my cousin Usha, who is an excellent cook herself. She suggested this recipe that I bring to you all today. The main ingredients are Split chick peas and dill which have been cooked with cumin, coriander powder and chilli powder. I must say, it came out delicious! It is a very simple and easy to make dish, perfect for a weeknight dinner. You can pair it with roti/flatbed/ bread or rice.

I had also reached out to several of my friends on the Facebook foodie groups and received numerous suggestions to prepare dishes that use dill. One of them was using them in kadhi, which i made in kadhi with dill. Another was seasoning fish with it, which I did in my Fish Dum Biryani. Third was using it with rice in pulao, which again I experimented with in my Fish Dum Biryani. There are many more recipes that use dill that I want to try ! So watch this space in the coming days. It is amazing how many things can be made with dill!! 

Servings : 2-3 ( one cup each)


Chana dal (Split chick peas): 1 cup
Dill: 2 cups, leaves only
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Onion: one small, chopped fine.
Ginger: 1 inch piece, chopped fine.
Garlic: 3 medium cloves, chopped fine.
Green chillies: 2, chopped fine
Haldi ( turmeric powder): 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder: 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
Water : 2 cups
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1/4 tsp


Wash Chana dal and soak it in water for atleast 3-4 hours.

In a pot cook the Chana dal with water. As it boils, you see scum appear on top. Discard this scum. When the dal is half cooked (around 8-10minutes), turn off the flame and keep aside.

In a sauté pan, heat 1 tsp oil. Add chopped garlic, ginger and sauté for a few seconds. 

Add the chopped onions, green chillies and sauté until the onions turn slightly  golden brown. 

Add cumin and coriander powders, red chilli powder and sauté for 30 seconds.

Now add the cooked dal, salt, sugar, dill leaves and cook on low flame until the dal is tender. Do not overcook the dal.

Serve hot with rice/roti/ bread.

Dill dal fry served with rice, ussal and kale stirfry.


Cooking made easy:

This recipe can be made with pretty much any kind of lentils. Just be mindful of the cooking time as some lentils cook faster than others and some lentils do not require soaking.

The rationale behind combining lentils with dill is not only to make it protein-rich but to add bulk to the dish. Dill when cooked reduces significantly in quantity.

Dill is a very strong herb. A little goes a long way. Some may not like the taste of it. So if you are new to it, start by using a little in your dish.

Tip for healthy living:

Dill is a very potent herb. A little bit goes a long way. It belongs to the same family as parsley, cumin and bay leaf. It is a great source of calcium, manganese, iron and flavonoids known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-viral properties. Dill has strong anti-microbial properties. Dill has been purported to regulate insulin levels in diabetics and also help reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels thereby being heart-healthy too. Dill also is great for digestive issues as it has anti-spasmodic properties. Dill is might help stabilize irregular menstrual cycles and help promote fertility in women. 


Food for thought:

It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. Epicurus