When it came to cooking, our grand mothers never threw off the peels, seeds and rinds of so many veggies. They probably knew it that these 'wastes' do contain many nutrients and fiber in some cases more than the actual veggie or fruit and can be put to better use than dumping it into the trash. And so some very good, amazing tasting delicacies were churned out, disguising the main ingredient so well that everyone who ate it would love the taste and not bother to know what has gone inside!
The same was carried over by my mom and MIL as well and thus it continues with me too! The list is endless, with chutneys made from veggie peels/seeds, dosas with rind of watermelon, methi stalks (recipe soon to follow), gojju with jack fruit seeds, and so on.
One of my favorites till date is the chutney made from ridge-gourd (heerekai) peel. Mom usually made tovve (dal) with the ridge gourd and the peel was used to make chutney, as an accompaniment. That used to be one of my most favorite meals! She used to make sure that the chutney is ground just a few minutes before meal time so that the roasted lentils that went into it were still crisp in the chutney and gave a nice texture when mixed with hot rice with a spoonful of oil or ghee!! What a combination!!
So, next time you are about to throw off the peel, stop and turn it into a nice delicacy! Here's the recipe...
Heerekai sippe / Ridge gourd peel chutneyPreparation time : 5 min
Cooking time : 5 min
Serves : 4 -6
Heerekai / Ridge gourd peel - from 1 big or 2 small ones - don't peel too much, just the outer ridges would do
Coconut - 1/2 cup, grated
Dry Red chilies - 5-6, depending on taste
Chana dal / Toor dal - 1 Tbsp
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Tamarind - a small marble sized ball
Coriander and Curry leaves - 1-2 sprigs each
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - A few sprigs
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Hing/asafetida - a pinch
• Roast chana/toor dal, red chilies, curry leaves in a tsp of oil till the lentils change color
• Add the peel to it and continue roasting till the raw smell is gone from the peel
• Let it cool slightly
• Grind the above with all other ingredients, adding a little water. Do not make it into a fine paste - a bit of texture gives a better tasting chutney
• Transfer the ground chutney to a serving bowl
For tempering / tadka:
• Heat the oil in a pan, add mustard and allow to splutter
• Add curry leaves and hing
• Garnish the chutney with tadka
• Do not make the chutney too smooth – a little coarse consistency will give a better taste
• Can use chana dal / toor dal or even urad dal or a combination of them
• The chutney tastes good with dosas, rottis too.