A common habit that can be seen in Indian households is the habit of incorporating unique ways to minimise food wastage.
The Better India spoke to their writer Angarika Gogoi’s grandmother and mother to learn their techniques and tips to implement zero-waste cooking.
Gogai recalls that while at the dining table, she was always asked to eat everything on her plates. “Take only as much as you can eat, but ensure what’s on your plate isn’t wasted,” they’d say.
Without a refrigerator, our writer’s grandmother recalls that produce like fish would be dried to make chutneys or curries.
Washing the potatoes carefully and keeping its peels is another way of avoiding food wastage. Additionally, the writer says that peels actually help in reducing the risk of colon cancer, heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
When there is a lot of curd in the fridge, just turn it into a raita. Grate some cucumber and add it to the curd with salt, coriander powder, chilli powder, black pepper, a tinge of honey and a large spoon of whole mustard paste.
Angarika's grandmother never let the leftover prasad go to waste. She would take the prasad of soaked gram and moong and blend it with onions, garlic, ginger, chillies and salt to make delicious pakoras.
In the Gogoi household, excess produce has always been used to make sweet and spicy pickles. These include kaccha mango pickle, chilli pickle, bogori pickle, jolphai pickle etc.
In the case of leftover bread, you can make bread pudding. All you need to do is layer some bread and sprinkle it with raisins and milk.Then take half a litre of milk and put it on the stove to reduce it with some sugar and vanilla essence. Once it has cooled down, break three eggs and pour the mixture over the bread and bake it in the oven until the bread looks golden brown!
When milk remains in the fridge for two days, turn it into chenna by squeezing lemon juice while heating it. Once you see the milk curdle, strain it with a muslin cloth.
Following these tips not only helps in reducing food wastage but also leads to making new dishes. What are some of the leftover recipes that your mothers and grandmothers use?