Food wastage is a huge concern, especially for a country with high hunger index. Knowingly or even otherwise, a lot of food ends up into the bins and then on to the landfills, and that inversely affects our ecosystem.
However, pandemic has taught us a lot; in fact, it has changed our perspective in many ways. We now consciously make an effort to preserve the threatened ecosystem and focus on reducing food waste.
Indian cuisine is such a blessing, from stems and core to seeds and peels, almost everything can be put to use with incredibly genius ideas. We have grown up seeing our Dadi or Nani making ghee at home, and mind you, they don’t just stop there, they use the Beri (residue from ghee) to make yummy Beri Vadi or even a cake.
Besides, at home, most of us use those so-called veggie scraps to create compost. Our ‘why waste?’ concept has rightly made us Indians well known as Jugaadus. So today, we are set to share with you some amazing ideas of using some food parts that you’ve otherwise been tossing away.
We have all made simple potato peel crisps or the mouth-watering cheese and chicken stuffed potato skins so that the potato skin doesn’t go waste. We also quite often use lemon and orange peel zests to add flavours to our dessert. But did you know, bottle gourd (loki) peels can make up as delicious pakodas? Even ridge gourd (turai) skin can be used to make a chutney. The nutrient rich and versatile, watermelon rind can be used to make heart-warming Halwa or even Dosas! Adrak wali chai is everyone’s favourite, so reserve ginger skin and use it in your chai, similarly, instead of throwing away the peeled cardamom pods, mix them with your tea leaves for a pleasant aroma.
Lotus stem (Nadru) is a loved delicacy other than that, we usually throw away most of the stems, but don’t do that now. Stems of coriander are rich in flavour, so they can be used to make the best carrot coriander soup. Next, just like that of the florets of broccoli, its stem is extremely healthy, so use it in a salad. Popularly, cauliflower stems are used by Bengalis in making Shukto. Further, besides the colocassia leaves, you can also use its stems in the curry or make crispy fritters with its roots (Arbi).
We are all aware of the goodness of the pumpkin seeds, so we usually use them in various dishes or make special recipes like Pumpkin Seed Butter or Spiced Pumpkin Seeds. Similarly, watermelon seeds are also healthy and can be used along with cashew nuts to bring richness and thick consistency to Indian recipes, or simply as mouth fresheners or chutney. Next, you can make an amazing sabzi using jackfruit seeds too.
Lastly, instead of throwing away the bits and ends of veggies, save them and make an exceptional vegetable stock right at home and store it in the fridge for later.
Using your flair, you can make various soups/stews, salads, sauces, or use it as pretty garnishes, the list is endless. So, hop onto the bandwagon, take a second look at the parts you are throwing away and see how you can convert them into delicacies.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.