In which Ludwig speaks of matters of heart
After many moons, today we made our first batch of tzatziki. Now there is a school of thought which unequivocally holds that you can't make a tzatziki without dill. Dill, as far as we can tell, is not be found in India. We have searched high and low, in river and vale and so on. Well...we looked in several Food Worlds scattered across Hyderabad, Q-Mart in Banjara Hills and Amma Naana in Raja Annamalaipuram in Madras.
Parsley, you will find, in pestilential quantities. Sage, definitely. Rosemary, most assuredly. The thyme has come for at least one of these places to stock dill. dill, dill, dill, main tere pyaar mein khoyaa..., and so on. We will be very grateful if someone can tell us where dill is to be found in peninsular India. The Orthodox School of tzatziki also holds that you need red wine vinegar. Whence, pray, are we who live in Begumpet to produce red wine vinegar from? We settled for a dash of regular vinegar.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. With this maxim in mind, and a recipe at hand, we started. The Ludwig Heresy in the art of tzatziki making is like so:
- Make curds. That is, boil milk, allow it to cool to body temperature, skim off the cream, add previous generation curd, let it set overnight.
- Take a piece of fine cloth. Cheesecloth is recommended, we settled for a section of superannuated veshti. Tie the curd in it, and hang contraption over sink or a bowl, and let all the water out. This will also take a night or so. At the end, you'll be left with a very pasty kind of 'dry' curd.
- Now more or less follow the steps in the recipe.
- At the last moment, instead of dill, add mint. Or somesuch.
We just sampled the first batch. Must say it came out rather well, given all the dill type constraints. Maybe a little bit too much of garlic. All the better to keep Lucy Westenra at bay. If one desires to keep Lucy Westenra at bay, that is.
Anyway, we ramble. So that's that. tzatziki - check. In celeberation of matters of dill, we give you a pome.
When you have gone
My eyes will turn
To lumps of stone.
I'll look at ice
And think of how
You called it 'bairf'.
I'll eat pilao
And taste your touch
Where it won't be.
How will I bear
To read Rumi?
The taste of dill
And all clean mirrors
Will make me ill.
Windex will lie
Where it was laid,
The record player
And dill may grow
Ten feet in height
But will no longer
At reference to
My stricken heart
Will beat in jerks -
But worst, some random
Woman's clear laugh
Will neatly cut
My liver in half.
Nice, no? We likes.
UPDATE: Inspired by Indu and co. (see comments), we have embarked on a virtual search for dill in India. The following nuggets exist:
- Sabakshi Soppu Curry - Apparently the damn 'erb has been around for dogs years, posing as Sabakshi or Kamakshi or somesuch
- This page is disturbingly titled "Dill(Soya)". It goes on to say that there are two kinds of dill, Indian and European. It has the chemical composition of dill! And to really prove how crazy they are, they tell us that
On steam distillation, Indian Dill yields 1.5 to 4.0 % volatile oil, while European Dill grown under Indian conditions yields 2.5 to 4.0 %.Steam distillation, it seems. "On steam distillation, a kitten yields 200% 20,000 decibel yowls..." Ouch.
- All India Spice Exporters Forum - Their dill page is probably the most authoritative in all the land...
- answers.com doesn't add a whole lot of new information, but check this out:
India is the primary producer of dill seed for culinary use.No kidding!
- Gernot Katzer's spice pages also have a page on the elusive dill. The etymology section is fascinating.
The search continues. Dill dhoondta hai...