UAE food: Get creative with these recipes for food scraps
From carrot peels to vegetable trimmings, here’s how to make the most of your cooking byproducts.
Every culture has a unique food philosophy, one that often helps define which part of the world you are from. Talks and gatherings around food make strong bonds, they say. But a common theme that is being explored across cultures these days is ways to minimise food wastage. It is not just about what’s served on the plate, but what gets tossed into the bin and is usually considered waste.
For all kinds of reasons — social, financial, and most importantly, environmental — it makes sense to get smarter about fully using what we purchase. And this includes peels and skins of fruits and vegetables, and also any leftovers.
Just consider your meal plan for today. What are you cooking? A dish with zucchini and carrots, maybe. Or potato curry. Most of us would peel the vegetables and bin the skin (some of us who are more conscious of zero wastage would use the peels in a compost, but for a majority they are a waste). What if we said everything in a vegetable can be used and turned into a delectable dish, should you choose to get creative with your food and its trimmings?
If zero wastage is on your mind, there is so much you can do with the scraps.
“There is so much you can do with fruit and vegetable trimmings and leftovers. Leftover fruit salads, for instance, can be turned into smoothies or blended for juices. Carrot peels can be turned into carrot pesto,” says Raydan Mahdi, Chef & Zone Manager ADNH (Abu Dhabi National Hotels) Compass.
“In case of zucchini, a lot of people remove the inside and throw it. However, the pulp can actually be used for baking with eggs and other vegetables to make some really tasty starters. Any part of the vegetable can be utilised to its fullest, if we care to use it.”
While the term ‘zero waste’ can be intimidating, and sometimes off-putting, there is a lot that we can do to minimise food waste in the kitchen without compromising on the taste or the nutrition aspect. You just need a dash of creativity. “I remember my granny using every bit of vegetables and turning it into something yummy, but if you ask me, I rarely do that. Peels and stalks of various vegetables are binned for my lack of creativity, time, and also because I have two young kids in the house. While growing up, we were experimental with food and ate almost everything that was served to us on our plates. But my children are fussy eaters, so I haven’t really bothered,” says Angela D., a working mum with two kids, aged 7 and 13.
Vanita Kapoor, a long time resident of Dubai, on the other hand, has been turning all kitchen waste into compost for her garden. “I have minimised kitchen waste by recycling it to a great extent. For the last year or so, I haven’t bought manure, but produced it in my backyard.”
If you are looking for ideas to minimise food waste, we can get you started. Rustle up some magic in the kitchen with food scraps through these recipes:
CARROT LEAVES PESTO
Serving size: 5
Carrot tops and leaves 150gm
Basil leaves 6gm
Roasted pumpkin seeds 40gm
Parmesan cheese 30gm
Lemon juice 1tbsp
Garlic cloves 2pcs
Cup of olive oil 45gm
Add all the ingredients except oil to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing the pesto.
Spoon into a glass jar and top with enough olive oil so the pesto is completely covered. Store in the fridge for up to a week or freezer for three months.
VEGETABLES TRIMMINGS BROTH
Serving size: 4
Simmer various trimmings of mixed vegetables in water and boil with spices to get the stock. You might think that vegetable peels and remnants are not good for much more than composting, but check this out: scraps vegetable broth can be used for soups, rice and anything else you would want to add a little more flavour to.
Trimmings from carrots, celery, onion, fennel, turnips, potatoes, or other vegetables: 400gm
Garlic crushed 15gm
Whole peppercorns 5gm
Bay leaves 2gm
Place the vegetable trimmings in a large stock pot. Fill the pot just above the trimmings with cold water and add crushed garlic cloves (with skin), peppercorns and bay leaves.
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25-30 mins.
Place large sieve over a bowl and pour the contents of the pot through the sieve. Press on the solids to squeeze out any extra liquid. Discard the solids.
Broth will last for a week, refrigerated or three months frozen.
Potato peel crisps
Serving size: 4
Potato peels are very nutritious and can be perfect crisps for a quick snack.
Potato peel 480gm
Paprika powder (optional) — 1gm
Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
Potato peel does not keep well, so get the peelings straight onto a baking tray.
Drizzle oil over your peelings and sprinkle over chosen seasonings/ spices.
Use your hands to mix everything together, until the peelings are evenly coated in the oil and seasoning.
Make sure the peelings are in an even layer and then place into the oven until slightly brown and crunchy, about 8-10 minutes.
RECIPES COURTESY ADNH COMPASS