CHENNAI: At the end of a stressful day, when you are craving something healthy, interesting and innovative, and all you have in your fridge are some roti dough, leftover rice and a basket full of vegetables, what can possibly you do? If you ask minimalists, the answer is “plenty”.
Frugal chefs aim for zero-waste cooking and effortlessly chalk entire meals with the flesh, peel and seeds of fruits and vegetables and leftover cooked foods too. Taking a leaf out of their daily lives, four minimalists share eight quirky, lipsmacking recipes with Vaishali Vijaykumar that you can whip up without investing much time or effort.
Dosa wrap by Senguttuvan Subburathina
Ingredients (for one dosai)
Aloo masala (from left over potato made the previous day): a spoonful
Baby corn and paneer gravy (leftover): a spoonful
Idli-dosai batter: a ladleful
Cheese: as per preference
Spread the batter on tawa.
Keep flame low. From the centre, cut towards the edge.
Place cheese on one quarter, aloo masala on the second, and baby corn and paneer gravy on the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, spread chutney/sauce.
Fold over as dosai wrap in a triangular shape. Slice and serve hot.
Some mozzarella grated cheese on top of hot dosai wrap will enhance the taste.
Sausage and tossed veggies by Mithuna Maran
Leftover vegetabled from salad (onion, cabbage, lettuce, tomato): a handful
Garlic: 3 pods
Oil: 1 tsp
Crushed chilli: 1
Sausage (sliced into medium portions): 2 to 3
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Heat oil and sauté garlic for a few minutes.
Add the vegetables and crushed chilli.
Then, add sausage, salt and pepper to it.
Punugulu by Meena Reddy
Leftover rice: 1 cup
Onion: 1 cup, finely chopped
Green chilli: 2 tsp, finely chopped
Carrots: 1, grated (optional)
Ginger garlic paste: ½ tsp
Jeera powder: 1/2 tsp
Gram flour: 3/4 cup
Coriander: finely chopped (optional)
Oil for frying, Salt to taste
Make a paste of leftover rice without adding water.
In a bowl, add this paste and all other ingredients except oil and mix well to thick batter consistency.
Add little water or sprinkle if needed.
Heat oil and fry punugulu until it turns golden brown.
Serve hot with coriander or coconut chutney.
A(kki)mini Kozhukattai by Madhumitha Ramachandran
Leftover akki roti dough: 3/4 to 1 cup
Coconut oil: 2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Podi of choice: 1.5-2 tbsp
Make uniform marble-sized balls out of the akki rotti dough and steam them for 10-12 minutes.
Heat a kadai, add oil. Once hot, splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves.
Add the podi (I used peanut-garlic podi). Keep the flame medium-low and mix together without burning the podi.
Add the steamed ammini kozhukattai and mix well without breaking them. Let them turn light gold in colour.
Serve hot with coffee/chai.
Tip: This is a great snack or a light tiffin for kids. The taste varies depending on the kind of podi you use. If you don’t have podi handy, use chilli powder and dhania powder, and maybe add some freshly-grated coconut too.
Soup from leftover veggies by Mithuna Maran
Leftover vegetables from salad (onion, tomato, lettuce): a handful
Oil: 1 tsp, Ginger: 1/2 inch
Garlic: 2 to 3 pod
Salt and pepper to taste
Water: 1 cup
Heat oil in a pan.
Sauté ginger and garlic.
Add the vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes.
Add 1 cup water.
Sprinkle salt and pepper.
Let it boil for a while and take it off the stove.
Stale-Muffin Pudding by Madhumitha Ramachandran
Stale/dense muffin, chopped into bite-sized pieces: 1
Coconut milk (or any other milk of choice): 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Sliced banana, apple: 1/2 cup
Granola/chopped dried fruits or any other
topping of choice: 1 tbsp
Add the chopped muffin, sliced fruits to a microwave safe bowl.
Pour milk on top and microwave at high for 2.5 minutes. Check after every 30-40 seconds.
Remove, let cool a bit. Add toppings of choice and more fruits if you’d like and serve warm.
Tip: This works well with stale milk bread or even a couple-of-days-old banana bread. Add fruits as per preference.
Guess-What-Patty-It-Is Burger by Madhumitha Ramachandran
Leftover pulao, mildly-spiced biryani (shouldn’t be too soggy): Roughly 1 cup
Potato (boiled) or 1 medium potato and a handful of crumbled paneer
Masala/seasoning of choice: 1-1.5tsp
Chopped fresh coriander: 1 tbsp
Corn flour/besan (use if needed): 1 tbsp
Burger buns, condiments, sliced tomatoes, cucumber
Salt to taste.
Add the leftover pulao, boiled and peeled potato (or potato+paneer) to a food processor or blender jar and pulse together until they blend together.
Transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and gently knead to bring it all together.
Divide the mixture equally and make 6-8 patties. They shouldn’t crumble. Add more corn flour/besan to help bind them together.
Cook in a tawa until both the sides crisp up and turn golden.
Assemble a burger as you usually do and use these as patties.
Tips: You can do an egg wash and coat the patties in breadcrumbs to make them firmer. Adding a crispy roasted vegetable (sliced sweet potatoes, eggplant, yam) and a sweet-tangy sauce/condiment makes the burgers significantly more delicious.
You can substitute the potatoes for yam, raw plantain, sweet potato or any other starchy vegetable.
Whatever-You-Got Hummus by Madhumitha Ramachandran
Whatever leftover beans/pulses you have: 3/4 to 1 cup
Leftover boiled vegetables like beets or carrots or flame-roasted red bell pepper: 1/4 cup, peeled
Garlic (use roasted for most flavour): 4-5 pods
Juice and zest from one lemon
Cumin powder: 1 heaped tsp
Black pepper/paprika and salt to taste
Add everything to a food processor or blender jar and blend together until creamy, scraping the sides as you go.
Add water/aquafaba (if you have) only if needed to adjust consistency.
Top with good quality olive oil and seasoning/spice mix of choice. My favourites are smoked paprika, chipotle, and Za’atar.
Enjoy it with chips, vegetables, on sandwiches, or as pasta sauce.
Tip: Try adding what’s in season to make your hummus interesting and different every single time — raw mango, avocado, fresh turmeric, fresh mango ginger, basil, mint are some excellent additions. You can also add curry pastes, pickle oil etc. for more variations.