The lockdown has not been a total waste. Since the supply of daily fruits and vegetables was scarce, people learned an important lesson: do not waste. Enter zero-waste cooking Indian style. Before Zomato, there were grandmothers. The thrift they practiced was fodder for versatility. They made flavourful chutneys from ridge gourd peels and okra crowns, which are usually discarded sans thought. Modern Indian home cooking owes much to post-Independence Socialism when prudence was a virtue. The leaves of radish were and still are used in dal, roots in parathas and the remaining parts bunged into a wholesome salad. Or dunk them in water, strain and use the H2O as a fertiliser for the garden—the recycling is as complete as karma.
Powerhouse of nutrients
Take a gander at the chopping board carefully next time you peel. Before unceremoniously wiping the skins away, note they are useful. Watermelon rind is rich in vitamin A and C, zinc and magnesium. Kiwi peels have vitamin C, fibre and flavonoids and are known to boost heart health. Peels of cucumber are rich in vitamin K crucial for bone health. Potato peels are abundant in iron, zinc and vitamin C, while pumpkin peels come packed with antioxidants, beta carotene and anti-ageing properties.
Most vegetable peels such as carrots and cucumbers are rich in insoluble fibre, which aid digestion and prevent constipation. Peels are high in fibre, which make your stomach feel full longer and hence, control bingeing pangs. Peels of sweet potato, mango and banana are low in calories and boost weight loss. Orange peels, for instance, have flavonoids good for heart health and prevent diseases such as cancer. It is also rich in copper and magnesium apart from the fibre.
Put them to use
Make tasty chutneys with pumpkin and ridge gourd peels by cooking them well with salt, red chillies and tamarind. Grind the mixture with coconut along with tempered channa dal and urad dal. Stir-fried bottle gourd peels and cauliflower stalk curry are other resourceful and healthy dishes. Boiled orange peels or decoction is great for the metabolism, curing a cold and also works well in combating blackheads and acne. South Indian homes are familiar with gojju, a dish of orange peels cooked in tangy tamarind sauce. A simple stir-fry of banana peels tempered with mustard, red chillies and fresh coconut, or raw banana-peel koftas and voila you have delicious nutritious concoction. The North has vitamin-rich watermelon rind halwa.
The seed story
Seeds have muscled their way into store shelves since the number of health-obsessed is rising. Pumpkin seeds are one of the healthiest foods, extremely rich in Omega 6 fats. Roast for snacks. Add to salad or include while preparing pesto. The fibre and vitamin-rich pulp and tender seeds of ash gourd make a healthy addition to the conventional dosa batter. Alternatively, fry in ghee and grind with red chillies and tamarind to make a delish chutney.The next time you want to trash vegetables, take a deep breath and peel to ten.
Much to gain
Cucumber: Vitamin K which is crucial for bone health
Potato: Iron, zinc and vitamin C
Pumpkin: Antioxidants, beta carotene and is replete with anti-ageing properties
Ridge Gourd: Vitamin A, B2, B3 and in minerals like calcium and phosphorous
Banana: Vitamin B6, B12, magnesium and potassiumseeds
Melon: Vitamins and proteins
Cucumber: Vitamin C
Orange Peel Gojju
- Coconut oil: 2-3 tbsp
- Orange peels finely chopped after discarding the pith and white part: 1 cup
- Urad dal: 1 tbsp
- Channa dal: 1 tbsp
- Sesame seeds: 1 tbsp
- Red chillies: 2-3
- Fenugreek seeds: ½ tsp
- Freshly coconut grated: ½ cup
- Tamarind juice and jaggery powder: 2 tbsp each
- Turmeric powder: 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Curry leaves: 1 sprig
- Heat one tbsp coconut oil in a pan and add the urad dal, channa dal, sesame seeds, red chillies and fenugreek seeds. Fry till aromatic.
- Once done, cool and grind to a smooth paste along with fresh coconut
- Heat one tbsp oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and orange peel. Fry till the raw smell disappears. Add turmeric powder and salt.
- Add the ground mixture and a little water if necessary. Then add the tamarind juice, jaggery and bring to a boil.
- Enjoy with hot rice or chapatis