Bottle guord peeling with potatoes and celeriac. Why peels?
My mum used to say that the dishes you make with trimmings and peels always taste better than the most extravagant ingredients.
I have always agreed with her.
She told me of an incident once during her annual stay with her siblings in India. A poor villager asked my mum if she could have the potato peels. She asked that my mum not mention her asking for the peels. It would be frowned upon as cheeky by my mums family and misconstrued. My mum gave her the peels. She asked what she was going to do with them. You’ll see she had replied.
There was quite a bit as it was for a big bustling family. My mum told her she could have some veg but she politely declined saying she just wanted peels so mum packed it up for her.
That eveing before mealtime she came back with with a portion of food in a bowl. She had washed, chopped and cooked the peels to feed her family and bought some for my mum so she could see what she had done with them and for gratitude. She thanked her, it had fed her family.
My mum told me that it had been the most delicious dish she had had in a long time.
It was so memorable that my mum told her she could have veg or trimmings anytime.
My mum used to say and I saw for myself that the poor had the biggest of heart but they did not want charity but to earn their way.
It resonated something in me as it did my mum. To this day…whenever I have decent peeling and trimmings of veg I set myself a task of making something out of nothing.
I think of that poor lady and the many more like her.
My mum and I loved what we could create.
This is one of those dishes.
It was in fact the best out of the five I cooked.
I julienned bottle guord peeling, some celeriac trimmings, 1 med potato with skin on and cooked this.
There are no set ingredients other than assortment of peels and veg trimmings.
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp panch puran
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 green chillies slit
1 tomato chopped
4 tbsp oil
3 dried red chillies
1/4 tsp hing (Asafoetida)
Gather all the peels, tomato and chilli in a bowl, colander or dish.
Heat the oil. Add the bayleaf, dried chillies and panch puran to hot oil. Wait till the panch puran splutters and becomes arromatic.
Now add the hing and after 5 seconds add the veg, tomatoes, fresh chillies and cover with lid immediately.
Let the puran aroma infuse for a few minutes.
Uncover, add the spices, salt and cook for a few minutes stirring frequently. Make sure it does not stick and the spices are well coated in oil.
Now add quarter cup water. Stir and cover.
Let this cook on medium till water evaporates. Stir occasionally. You should be left with a dry dish with a oil sheen but no water. The peels and trims should be cooked through.
Serve with hot rice.
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