Zero waste kitchen: reduce, reuse, recycle
With the global pandemic bringing many changes in our life, many individuals are moving towards more responsible and sustainable food practices. Hence in an attempt to embrace the thriftiness and cut down on food wastage, the notion of zero waste kitchen is gaining popularity and finding more takers. “Wastage at the kitchen can be lowered through a variety of options, such as – buying local and seasonal fruits and vegetables, reducing, reusing, recycling, and proper planning and execution of both raw materials and food scraps and leftovers. I was encouraged to come up with recipes and menus to work on the concept. We have been conscious of reducing carbon footprints from all our kitchens from recycling waste and peels, to innovative recipes to ensure a sustainable and zero waste kitchens,” says Madhumita Mohanta, executive chef, The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata.
The term zero waste may sound intimidating but it is technically just a shift of habit – from buying to storage, from finishing food to recycling leftovers. “Each and everything can be used. It is the awareness which is important to ensure zero wastage. Potatoes are a commonly used vegetable in Indian kitchens. Its peels can be converted into an awesome pakoras or bhajiya. Crush the peels with garlic, chilies, fresh green coriander and seasoning. Dip in a light batter and fry. For beetroots, roast the peel and create a powder. If stored well, it can be used for a long duration. One can also make an aromate out of the same with beetroot peel garam masala. Raw banana peel can be used for chutney, watermelon skin for tutti frutti,” says chef Nishant Choubey.
Moreover, adapting such practices cab also help gain more nutrition from your everyday food as there are many vegetables and fruits whose skin have nutritious value. “Potato skin contains B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium and other nutrients. It gives crunchiness to the dish. There are many other fruits and vegetables which should be consumed with skin for the nutritious value. Most peels contain fiber, vitamins and minerals in them,” says Mohanta.
On order to achieve zero waste kitchen, one can start with simple methods such as reducing the usage of plastic. Carry bags and jars while shopping. Super markets are convenient but the packaged food means a lot of waste. Buy fresh. “Introduce compost bin in your homes. Reuse vegetable and fruit peel for garnishing or some healthy recipes. Try eating whole foods and avoid packaged food. In case of gatherings, pass on the leftovers to NGOs or distribute it to the people who are in need,” says Mohanta. Even while preparing non-vegetarian food, one can use the leftovers. “If you are left with chicken/mutton pieces, grind it, add leftover daal and convert them into sumptuous Shami kebabs. Hari Mirch Keema can be made out of minced mutton Koftas. One can use gosht keema to fill bottle guards and believe you me they taste nostalgia. Prepare Yakhni with leftover mutton bones and then relish Yakhni pulao,” says Shazia Bukhari, culinary expert from Sheikh Shack.
You would be surprised to know the fruit waste can be used to make disinfectant and soaps. “Our juice centre in Bangalore is a waste engineering centre. Our purpose has always been to engineer the waste. We do waste segregation and use separate bins to keep fruit pulp, skin peel, seed and other waste. Similarly, there is a collection bin only for citrus peels. We make bio enzymes out of all the citrus peels and use them to sanitize the place. As a result we do not buy any chemical disinfectants. The pulp from filtered fruit waste is used to make fruit soaps and use banana leaves, areca leaves and many other natural leaves to package these natural soaps. We are also exploring the idea of using seeds to make jewellery,” says Anand Raj, founder of Eat Raja, zero waste juice bar.
Potato peels Halwa
KhowaSugarLeftover Potato peelsCashewAlmondsRaisinsGheeCardamom powderSilver leaf to decorate
Cut almond into fine slicesGrate 50 gm Khowa, coarselyCut into thick julienne of 4 big potato peelsDeep fry 20 gms raisins and cashew nuts and keep asideWith the sugar, make syrup of one stringTake two cups of water in a heavy bottom container and bring to boil Put 1 bay leaf and a pinch of cardamom powderOnce it imparts aroma, add the potato peels and simmer for 5 - 7 minutes, until 40% doneStrain the water and spread the peels on a kitchen towel and let if dryHeat 2 tbls of ghee in that container, and once it’s a bit hot, add the boiled and dried peels, fry till it gets a brown tintAdd half cup of warm water and allow to simmerSlowly add 1/2 cup sugar syrup and incorporateCook this until the potato peels get a halwa consistencySlowly add the grated khowa, cardamom powder, fried dry fruits and mix wellServe hot or set in a tray, cool it down n cut in barfi shape and relish
Recipe by chef Madhumita Mohanta