Have you wondered about comments on other blogs? The really-high traffic ones? There are quite a few political blogs we visit, and the comments there are often more interesting and informative than the posts themselves. There are some commenters that you can tell are trolls right away – the types who are there just to yank others’ chains.

And there are some who don’t quite fit the “troll” stereotype, but are disruptive and calculated enough in their responses to make you wonder why they are there. Guess what? There are services that provide “blog intelligence and advocacy”. That’s code for companies who send hired trolls to spread propaganda through comments forms on blogs. I’m not going to link to these companies, but you can read about them here. And here.

Companies and political groups actually hire people to go on blogs and push propaganda and products through others’ comments forms.

So if you go to someone’s blog or message board and read a casual comment saying: “I’ve used this gadget and it’s wonderful,” it may be a paid shill. I’m not talking about the post itself. I’m talking of the comments form. You can tell the shills from a mile away on Amazon reviews. However, the ones on the blogs and message boards are really sophisticated.

They hang around for a while. They become fixtures on the site and establish “credibility”. Then they slip in their propaganda. Political groups do this. Nvidia was caught doing this. Their trolls allegedly infiltrated several gamer forums and befriended users there. Initially they talked of stuff unrelated to gaming, “and then splurged in an orgy of sock-puppet boosterism of Nvidia’s stuff”.

It gives you an idea of how much of an impact blogs and message boards are perceived to have. It also tells you what an effed up world we inhabit.

So, in my effed up world, I was strolling though the produce section of the Thai store, when I saw this pretty bunch of dill. I’m guessing it’s seasonal, ‘cos I rarely see it there. I googled ‘Karnataka dill’, ‘cos I know people from that part of India use it a lot in their cooking. The first hit was Mamatha’s blog for Sapsige Soppina Bhath. Translation: Damn Tasty Stuff.

I had planned to stick exactly to her instructions. Then life took over. My little neighbour wanted to retrieve her toy that she’d flung into our backyard. As soon as she left, the FedEx guy showed up, then the phone rang.

When I came back to the kitchen, the onions were almost burnt and I had to start over. So I did, in a really pissy mood, with just half a leftover onion, one tomato, and with no desire really to go upstairs and read the recipe all over again. It still turned out awesome. This recipe should work with any delicate greens.

Here’s my version – not the exact replica of Mamatha’s recipe, but quite close. We had some frozen peas left over from last year’s harvest. That’s what I used.

With its wispy leaves and delicate sweet flavour, it’s hard not to like dill. Plus, it has formidable nutritional benefits.

The activity of dill’s volatile oils qualify it as a “chemoprotective” food (much like parsley) that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens, such as the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and the smoke produced by trash incinerators.

The total volatile oil portion of dill has also been studied for its ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth. In this respect, dill shares the stage with garlic, which has also been shown to have “bacteriostatic” or bacteria-regulating effects.

In addition to its chemoprotective and bacteriostatic properties, dill is a very good source of calcium.

My oldest, most-used pair of chopsticks. You can tell from the tips. I like the shadows and didn’t try to get rid of them. To give it a warm feel, I set the white balance to “Cloudy”.

Event Details HERE

Photographer: Bee
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: 100 mm macro
Shutter speed: 1/60 sec
ISO Speed: 100
F-stop: f/2.8

DEADLINE: March 30, 2009

Dill and Green Peas Pulao

(4 meals for two people)

2 cups brown basmati rice (or regular long-grained rice)

in plenty of water, drain, then soak in

4 cups water

for 30 to 45 minutes.

(Make sure you measure the water while soaking, ‘cos the rice will absorb water when it soaks, and if you want to measure and add the water later, it’s difficult to guess how much it needs. If using other types of rice like short-grain or sona masoori, increase the water by half to one cup).

1 tbsp oil or ghee (clarified butter)

in a big pot and add
1 tsp cumin seeds,
2 green cardamoms,
2 cloves,
1 stick cinnamon,
2 bay leaves

When the cumin sizzles, add

1 cup very finely chopped red onion (about half a large onion)
and a dash of salt

Fry on medium until golden brown.

Meanwhile, blend to a puree

1 cup chopped tomato
2 green chillies
1 small piece ginger
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Add the puree to the fried onions and cook down until a bit dry.

Then add

the rice with the water it was soaked in
salt to taste

Stir once, bring to a boil on medium-high, reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook. At the 12-minute mark, add

1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup packed chopped dill leaves

Stir once, cover and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes.

lime juice to taste (I used 2 tsps)

Mix very gently and serve.

Jajik (Lebanese Cucumber Yogurt Salad)

This is quite like raita, but has garlic. Some versions have mint as well. I used homegrown mint from last summer’s garden that we had dried.

Serves 2

Mix together

1.5 cups organic plain homemade yogurt or organic sour cream (low fat is fine)
2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and finely minced
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
**if unwaxed, use the skin
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint or 1 tsp dried

My addition: Crush 1/4 tsp each cumin and black pepper in a mortar and pestle and sprinkle.

You can add salt if you like. We don’t.

Dill and Green Peas Pulao is our entry for Eating with the Seasons @ Maninas: Food Matters.

Does My Blog Look Good In This: March 2009.

Does My Blog Look Good In This (DMBLGIT) is a monthly food photography event open to all bloggers who have posted a photograph with a food or drink connection.

This month DMBLGIT is hosted by Nika Boyce @ Nika’s Culinaria. Nika’s a Massachusetts-based pro photographer (check out her work) who specialises in food and scientific photography. Her Food Photo 101 tutorial series has been a great resource for photo enthusiasts.

We are truly honoured to be invited to judge this month’s edition. Pick your favourite food/beverage photo from your Feb 2009 blog archive and send it to her. The deadline is March 20, 2009. Rules @ Nika’s Culinaria.

- bee

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  1. Manasi says:

    Another must try dish! Loved the raita!!!

  2. sunita says:

    Yummy! But I’m really eyeing those bowls :-)

  3. A&N says:

    Oh the bowls are gorgeous! And we’re trying to work on our photography. So, thanks for the tips as well :)

    And, and, about dill- yes, its a huge fave in Karnataka. You may also want to try Akki Roti. Loaded with carbs, and that is why, tasty :D I should make it and post it sometime too :)

  4. Nags says:

    Love the pics! Clean and lovely. I sometimes have trouble with shadows too but haven’t figured out to how get rid of them in post-editing. Still experimenting and learning :)

  5. Soma says:

    I have never cooked with dill. I have had pakoras once made with dill & kinda liked & not liked the flavor.. have to decide yet.
    Love ur bowls!! BTW how do get rid of shadows? it looks really natural here.. with the shades you have picked.

    adjust the light source/s and fill/bounce light to eliminate shadows.

  6. Dibs says:

    Everything looks fresh, and yummy! Those chop sticks look lovely. Using chop sticks is a skill on my ‘must learn’ list!

  7. Cham says:

    Very unusual bowl! So it is kind of high tech marketing tool in comment form! Dill and akki roti are pretty famous! Like ur rice idea!

  8. Madhumathi says:

    The bowls caught my eye! I have never tried dill becoz we don’t get it here..Nice recipes!

  9. Miri says:

    I just made jajik yday and it was lovely with some toasted pita bread, coincidentally I also put into wooden bowls to send to the Click event – of course, not a patch on your pics! I also made your Muhammara sauce to go with some patties and it was simply amazing! Thanks!

  10. Happy Cook says:

    I never knew they paid for commenting, like ou said “I’ve used this gadget and it’s wonderful,” I would have thought it was a real hones comment, thanks for the info.
    The dill rice still looks super yumm even though you made it in a pissed off mood.

  11. Deesha says:

    Thatz a very yummy looking Pulao. I love dill leaves. they add an amazing flavor. Yep, we karanataka ppl use a lot dill leaves in our cooking from kootu to rottis to vadas .. & its not seasonal. Here its available almost all year round.

  12. Deb says:

    I am hoping to have lots of dill this summer in my garden but for now will have to satisfy myself with your striking photos.

    My daughter advises me to skip the comments sections on the blogs I read. I tend to get riled up by the trolls, which I suppose, is precisely what they are after.

    Anything as open as a comments section will be susceptible to posers and fakes. Thanks for pointing that out. Let the reader beware!

  13. purplesque says:

    A neighbor on Vox mentioned being hounded by marketing trolls when she wrote a bad review on Bob Evans’ desserts, but I thought that was implausible. Until now.

    I like to hide dill in rotis, but the pulao sounds(and looks) like a great idea. Thanks for the info on DMBLGIT!

  14. happy says:

    yummy recipes.
    I couldn’t see the raita pic clearly.
    May be it is too far for the shot.
    nice collection of bowls.

  15. Aparna says:

    Dill seems to be available here for a large part of the year. They call it “shepu bhaji”.
    It looked so attractive (as in your first picture) I bought it once, but we just couldn’t reconcile ourselves to the taste.:(

  16. Madhuram says:

    Until recently I didn’t know that dill is available and used in India. The first picture is damn good.

  17. aquadaze says:

    I love that bowl, bee. I use dill quite a bit, just love its flavours!

  18. Ashwini says:

    Yummy yummy..Love the flavors that dill brings out in a dish..Use it in most dishes..Love those bowls..so cute. Pics are fab as usual.

  19. SuperChef says:

    love the pulao and the salad..but the loved the bowls even more!!

  20. pelicano says:

    What a marvelous pulao; I love tomatoes and dill! And interesting how dill is often used in western cuke pickles- a vestige of older recipes perhaps? Who can say…? Jajik is a regular here and, I imagine, a great pairing with the bhath. Nice post Bee!

  21. sushma says:

    hey Bee nice click and im eyeing on those nice bowls..:)

    The rice looks so delicious. loved the way u used a kannada word. :)

  22. Arundathi says:

    Fantastic looking pulao and I love the chopsticks. Have to go around finding some dill in Chennai…

  23. Shillu says:

    Lovely pics. I love the bowls & chopsticks too. I am going to try this recipe for sure. I did not know the value of these leaves till I read it here. Thank you guys.

  24. Bharti says:

    The pulao looks great! Dill is also used in sindhi saibhaji as an add on to the spinach. I actually haven’t used it much, will get it next time. Thanks!

  25. Laavanya says:

    After reading about dill in quite a few blogs, i picked up my first bunch at the store last weekend but still haven’t ventured into making anything yet. This rice is calling – maybe i’ll give this a shot.

  26. Lynne says:

    Great looking photos! How do you like the 5D Mark 11? Your dish looks very tasty.

    it’s good – much faster than our old camera (300D) and the live view is awesome. i don’t quite like the auto white balance though. the cast is more bluish than in our old camera.

  27. Asha says:

    Dill!! My fave greens of course. Dill rice looks delicious, must try sometime. Photos look fabulous,specially the second one.
    I have one “Wood” for your CLICK, photo is just okay but who cares! ;D
    Thanks for the Tomato Kurma Pizza feedback. Slurp!

  28. RedChillies says:

    Hi Bee and Jai, been a while since I visited you all. That “Translation: Damn Tasty Stuff. ” was funny. Being from Karnataka I can vouch how tasty Dill is. It can be paired with beans, pulses, used while making Thalippeth etc.
    I see it avialable in the Indian stores here between November and April.

    Nice recipe and thanks Mamtha as well.

  29. Suganya says:

    The first time I tried dill, it wasn’t pleasant. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what put me off. And thats that. Never have revisited it.

  30. Vandya says:

    This is my first visit to your blog. I’m glad that i did visit this website. Pictures are especially out of this world.You have a great talent.

  31. Margie says:

    This is a MUST…I can’t wait to gather, assemble and munch.

  32. Bharati says:

    Hi Bee,
    Yes, dill is widely used in Karnataka, my cousin in blore makes a rasam with it.
    I found a recipe for dill-kaala channa pulav in one of Suneeta Vasawani’s cookbook and it been a favourite at home since then.
    Its a simple recipe combining rice with green garlic, whole spices (cinnamon and elaichi),kala channa (boiled as it won’t cook with the rice otherwise), fresh dill and lemon slices , very delicate and lemon slices with dill give a unique flavour.

  33. Bharati says:

    Forgot to add that dill is somewhat of a acquired taste, I love it but some others I know are not too enthusiastic about it

  34. Sudha says:

    Hi Bee,

    Tried both the recipes and they were really good!! I didn’t puree the tomatoes,instead used them all straight as I had some cherry tomatoes on hand. Also, I added a combination of green peas and tuvar lilva. Thanks for the wonderful recipes!!

  35. Like a really good meal, a little of everything in your post. Good that you get to end of a rant ( I love ranting by the way) with one of my favourite herbs, dill. Your pics as usual, are enviable

  36. Ben says:

    You know. I’ve gotten several of those comments on my blog lately. They are not automated spam, but you can tell they are not foodies or regular readers. I guess that’s a sign that my blog is getting some attention… LOL

    Great recipe and great pictures! You are such an inspiration. And I am not getting paid to say that :D

  37. cooldeep says:

    Nava Varshabhinandan!!!

  38. Maninas says:

    I think I’ve received some emails from one of those trolls… Thanks for the info.

    Who would have thought dill has such fantastic nutritional properties? I learn something new from you every time. Thanks!

    I love the shadows in the photos. They add touches of elegance.

  39. [...] Dill and green peas pulao ~ Bee & Jai from Jugalbandi (North Western US) [...]

  40. Pritya says:

    Dear Bee,
    Blogs, comments, dill, click, photograph tips and all…enjoyed the post very much. The pic are tempting. I love the flavour of dill, so thank you for the yummy recipe and for the fact that it works even amidst interruptions :) .

  41. rajesh says:

    Love your pictures, and this recipe looks and feels yummy.
    When I hear dill, the first thing that pops up in my mind is the potato dill fry that my folks made when we grew up. Perhaps Shankari will try out your soppu recipe (greens in kannada) some time soon.

  42. Rajee says:

    Love ur bowls with pulao and raita. I never used dill for cooking. I wonder how the taste will be.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I have just had a look thro the CLICK photos. My goodness, what fabulous quality. Makes me want to go out and buy a whole lot of wooden kitchenware. :-)

  44. Vani says:

    Much as I love sopsige soppu, I realize I’ve hardly used it in the past few years. Will get me some soon and change that! BEAUTIFUL pictures, btw! ANd loved the mommy flavors post :)

  45. [...] Dill and Green Peas Pulao with Jajik (Lebanese Cucumber Salad) [...]

  46. [...] (yogurt salad, much like the Lebanese Jajik) can be made with fresh veggies (cucumber, mint, tomatoes) or cooked (blanched spinach, [...]

  47. [...] with these terms, when rice is cooked in meat or vegetable stock (yakhni) and spices, it is called pulao but when it is first cooked separately in water and layered with meat and other ingredients, it is [...]

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