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Anethum Graveolens [Lao Coriander] - Fresh Garden Dill

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Anethum L.
Species: A. graveolens
Binomial name
Anethum graveolens L.
Peucedanum graveolens (L.) C. B. Clarke

Dill originated within an area around the Mediterranean and the South of Russia.34 Zohary and Hopf remark, “wild and weedy types of dill are widespread in the Mediterranean basin and in West Asia.” Although several twigs of dill were found in the tomb of Amenhotep II, they reported the earliest archeological evidence for its cultivation comes from late Neolithic lakeshore settlements in Switzerland.5 Traces have been found in Roman ruins in Great Britain.

In Semitic languages, it is known as shubit. The Talmud requires that tithes shall be paid on the seeds, leaves, and stems of dill.

The name “dill” comes from Old English dile, thought to have originated from a Norse or Anglo-Saxon word dylle, meaning “to soothe or lull,”[citation needed] the plant having the carminative property of relieving gas.

Fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called “dill weed” to distinguish it from dill seed) are used as herbs, mainly in Germany, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Baltic, in Russia, and in central Asia.

Like caraway, its fernlike leaves are aromatic and are used to flavor many foods, such as gravlax (cured salmon), borscht and other soups, and pickles (where the dill flower is sometimes used). Dill is best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried; however, freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavor relatively well for a few months.

Dill seed is used as a spice, with a flavor somewhat similar to caraway, but also resembling that of fresh or dried dill weed.6 Dill oil can be extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant. Dill is the herb most often added to fish.[citation needed]

Dill is the eponymous ingredient in dill pickles: cucumbers preserved in salty brine and/or vinegar.

In Poland, where dill is called ‘koper’, it is one of the most popular herbs used in kitchen, along with parsley and chives, therefore people use dill for various purposes. Fresh, finely cut dill leaves are used as topping to vartious soups, especially the hot red borsht and the cold borsth mixed with curds, kefir, yoghurt, or sour cream, which is served during hot Summer and is called ‘chłodnik’ (“cooler”). It is also popular in Summer to drink the fermented milk (curds, kefir, yoghurt, or butter milk) mixed with finely cut dill (and sometimes other herbs). The same way prepared dill is used as a topping for water cooked potatoes covered with fresh butter – especially in Summer time when there are the so-called ‘new’ potatoes (potatoes are still young). The dill leaves can be mixed with butter beforehand, making it a dill butter, which can serve the same purpose. Dill leaves mised with fresh cottage cheese (or hard white cheese ‘twaróg’ mixed with cream) form one of the traditional cheese spreads used for sandwiches. Fresh dill leaves are used all year round as an ingredient for making fresh salads, e.g. made of lettuce, fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, same as basil leaves are used in Italy and Greece. Fresh dill leaves mixed with sour cream are the basis for dressings, and it is especially popular to use this kind of sauce with freshly cut cucumbers, which practically are wholly immersed in the sauce, making thus a salad called ‘mizeria’. The dill leaves serve as a basis for cooking dill sauce, used hot for baked fresh water fish and for chicken or turkey breast, or used hot or cold for hard boiled eggs (depending on the temperature of the eggs served). In south-eastern Poland it is popular to cook a dill-based soup (zupa koperkowa), served with potatoes and hard boiled eggs. Whole stems including roots and flower buds are traditionally used to prepare Polish style pickled cucumbers (ogórki kiszone), especially the so-called low-salted cucumbers (‘ogórki małosolne’). Whole stems of dill (even including the roots) are also used to be cooked with potatoes (especially the ‘late’ potatoes of Autumn and Winter), to make them resemble in flavor those ‘new’ potatoes of Summer time. Some kinds of fish, especially trout and salmon, are also traditionally baked with stems and leaves of dill. Dill seeds are added to cooking some heavy dishes, especially made of cabbage and fat meats, as a gas relieving herb, same as caraway or fennel seeds. NB. The Polish name ‘koper’ covers also fennel (‘koper włoski’, lit. ‘Italian dill’), but fennel is never used for all these purposes mentioned above, except for the last one (it’s seed are added to some ‘heavy’ dishes). Out of the three kinds of seeds mentioned, however, only fennel seeds are considered to be a ‘real’ medical plant, so infusion made of these seeds alone is served to babies suffering from gases.

In Romania dill (mărar) is used on a national scale as an ingredient for soups such as borscht, pickles and other dishes; it is often mixed with salted cheese and used as a filling. Another popular dish with dill as a base ingredient is the dill sauce, which is served with eggs and fried sausages.

In Hungary dill is very widely used. It is popular as a sauce or filling, especially in Langos, and mixed with a type of cottage cheese. Dill is also used for pickling and in salads. The Hungarian name for dill is kapor.

In Serbia, dill is known as mirodjija and is used as an addition to soups, potato and cucumber salads and French fries. It also features in the Serbian proverb “бити мирођија у свакој чорби” which corresponds to the English proverb “to have a finger in every pie”.

In Santa Maria, Azores, dill (endro) is the most important ingredient of the traditional Holy Ghost soup (sopas do Espírito Santo). Dill is found practically anywhere in Santa Maria, and curiously rare in the other Azorean Islands.

In Canada, dill is a favourite herb to accompany poached salmon.

In Arab countries, dill seed, called ain jaradeh (grasshopper’s eye), is used as a spice in cold dishes such as fattoush and pickles. In Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, dill is called shibint and is used mostly in fish dishes.

In Iran, dill is known as shevid and is sometimes used with rice and called shevid-polo. It is also used in Iranian aash recipes, and is also called sheved in Persian.

In India, dill is known as shepu (शेपू) in Marathi and Konkani, savaa or menthulu in Hindi or soa in Punjabi. In Telugu, it is called methulu and Methi-kura (for herb greens). It is also called sabbasige soppu (ಸಬ್ಬಸಿಗೆ ಸೊಪ್ಪು) in Kannada. In Tamil it is known as sada kuppi(சதகுப்பி). In Malayalam, it is ചതകുപ്പ(chathakuppa )or ശതകുപ്പ(sathakuppa). In Sanskrit, this herb is called shatapushpa. In Gujrati, it is known as hariz. In India, dill is prepared in the manner of yellow moong dal as a main-course dish. It is considered to have very good antigas properties,so it is used as mukhwas, or an after-meal digestive. It is also traditionally given to mothers immediately after childbirth. In the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, a smaller amount of fresh dill is mainly cooked along with cut potatoes and fresh fenugreek leaves(Hindi आलू-मेथी-सोया). In Manipur, dill locally known as pakhon is an essential ingredient of chagem pomba – a traditional Manipuri dish with fermented soybean and rice.

In Laos and parts of northern Thailand, dill is known in English as Lao coriander17 (Lao: ຜັກຊີ, Thai: ผักชีลาว). In the Lao language, it is called phak see, and in Thai, it is known as phak chee Lao.89 In Lao cuisine, Lao coriander is used extensively in traditional Lao dishes such as mok pa (steamed fish in banana leaf) and several coconut milk-based curries that contain fish or prawns.

In Vietnam, the use of dill in cooking is regional, specifically northern Vietnamese cuisine.Read more

Artwork Comments

  • Manon Boily
  • © Sophie W. Smith
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