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From tambli to chutney, the appeal of Karnataka-style dishes using peels

Three refreshing recipes to try zero-waste cooking with peels, Karnataka style

Heerekayi sippe (ridge gourd) chutney. Picture: Aisiri Amin
Heerekayi sippe (ridge gourd) chutney. Picture: Aisiri Amin

While zero-waste cooking seems like a lifestyle change today, in my Dodda’s (grandmother’s) time, it was just how they rustled up a recipe—nothing was left behind. I remember when using ridge gourd, the peels would go into another bowl and turn into chutney to go with lunch or evening snacks. As much as I loved mangoes, their peels never seemed edible to me. But Ajja (grandfather) would eat slices with the peels. When asked about it, he had a simple answer, ‘Why waste?’. 

Today, as food waste is a rising concern around the world, zero-waste cooking seems almost a necessity. Climate change has been demanding lifestyle changes for a long time, and one of the main ones has been how we consume food. However, for the generations before us, zero-waste cooking was a way of life. There are interesting and diverse recipes that can be made from different parts of the same vegetable or fruit. For instance, while the peels of bottle gourd are turned into a chutney, the gourd is used to make tangy sambhar. 

Not only do such recipes reduce food wastage, but they also bring refreshing flavours to the plate. Here are some easy ones that you can try.

Also read: How to cook with peels and reduce kitchen waste

Heerekaayi sippe chutney (Ridge gourd peels chutney)

I have always found ridge gourd intimidating; it’s just one of those vegetables that come with a sort of spiky shield. The first time, I ate a chutney made of ridge gourd, it was surprising how distinct yet familiar it felt. In a way, I think it was the chutney that made me add ridge gourd to my basket. 

Making the chutney is simple. To cook the gourd, the outer, rougher surface is lightly scrapped to reveal the more tender part. These scrapped peels are cooked with water, turmeric, and green chillies. While they cool, sauté urad dal, chana dal, red chillies, curry leaves and hing in oil until two dals turn golden brown. Next, add grated coconut and lightly roast it. Cool this mixture and grind it with salt, tamarind, jaggery and cooked ridge gourd peels. For the tempering, fry mustard seeds and curry leaves in oil and garnish the chutney with it. You can have this with rice, idli, or dosas

Orange peel curry

The combination of a citrus burst with the tanginess of tamarind, this curry comes as a delight for the tastebuds. For this, scrape out the white parts from the peels and chop them finely. Now, in a pan heat oil and temper with mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. When they splutter, add curry leaves, red chilli powder, green chillies, hing and turmeric powder. To this, add the chopped peels and sauté for about five minutes. Then add tamarind water, salt, jaggery and rasam powder. Check the consistency and decide how much water to add and let it simmer. 

Once the peels are cooked well, add rice flour mixed with water to improve consistency. Boil this for about two minutes and serve hot.

Watermelon rinds tambli

As refreshing as watermelon is during scorching summers, the peels can be turned into an equally soothing concoction. Next time you devour watermelon, save the rinds. Cut them into smaller pieces and saute them in oil along with cumin seeds for about five minutes. Once they cool off, grind them with grated coconut, green chillies and salt. Add buttermilk or whisked yoghurt to this mixture and garnish it with a seasoning of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Serve it with rice to soothe the body as it battles the heat. 

Also read: Don’t throw away the peels, shoots and leaves

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