DILL (ševed, ševīd, šebet, etc.), Anethum graveolens L. (fam. Umbellifera), an herb widely cultivated in Persia. The main use of its feathery leaves is as the sole herb in all dishes in which the main ingredient is fava beans (bāqelā), for example, bāqelā polow (pilau with fava beans), kūfta-ye ševed-bāqelā (meatballs with dill and fava beans), ḵoreš-e bāqelā (a stew with chunks of meat, as well as dill and fava beans) and its well-known Gīlānī variant bāqlā qātoq, but also in ševed polow (a plain pilau sometimes served as a dietary dish, e.g., for patients with diarrhea), and in gherkin pickles. It is also one of the herbs in sabzī polow (a rice dish with green herbs; for recipes, see Ramazani, pp. 112-13, 121-22, 192, 263-64; Montaẓemī, p. 597; Ḵavār, pp. 38-40).
Dill seeds, to which properties similar to those of fennel (rāzīāna) seeds were ascribed in Galenic medicine, are still sometimes used as a diuretic (cf. Schlimmer, pp. 40-41), stomachic, carminative, etc. (for a full inventory of the medicinal virtues and uses of dill, see ʿAqīlī, s.v. šebatt, pp. 541-42).
Sayyed Moḥammad-Ḥosayn ʿAqīlī Ḵorāsānī, Maḵzan al-adwīa, Calcutta, 1844.
Z. Ḵāvar (Marʿašī), Honar-e āšpazī-e Gīlān, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987.
R. Montaẓemī, Honar-e āšpazī . . ., 9th ed., Tehran, 1361 Š./1982.
V. Mozaffarian, The Family of Umbelliferae in Iran. Keys and Distribution, Tehran, 1983, p. 126.
N. Ramazani, Persian Cooking, New York, 1974.
Originally Published: December 15, 1995
Last Updated: November 28, 2011
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Vol. VII, Fasc. 4, p. 404