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Interesting recipes of dishes made from leftover food items

The next time you throw away last night’s dal, roti and rice in the bin, stop and think. Are you throwing away a potential Kothu Parotta or an Arancini?

Our parents and elders have often taught us that wasting food is a bad habit. According to statistics published in various publications, India wastes food worth R44,000 cr every year.

As per a report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation in the year 2012, 48 per cent of children under the age of five have stunted growth and are severely malnourished. These figures and the rising inflation should be good enough reasons for us to stop wasting food.

And while we are at it, how about turning last night’s plain old dal and rice into lip-smacking snacks or a whole new meal by itself? During the monsoon, food items don’t perish as quickly as they do in summer, so it’s the ideal time to revamp leftover food. Three bloggers show us how we can add some zing to staple food items:

Cake pops from leftover cake
Leftover cake can be used to make cake pops, says Hyderabad-based food blogger Arundati Rao. “Crumble the cupcake/cake in a blender till it looks like fine bread crumbs. Add cream to the crumbs and mix.


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Divide this into 12 parts and roll, like a laddu,” explains Rao. “Place on a plate and keep in the freezer for 15 minutes. Dip about ½ inch of the skewer/ stick into the melted chocolate.

Poke it into the middle of the cake balls. Dip this into the melted chocolate and using a spoon, pour the melted chocolate over the cake pops. Pour a few sprinkles over the cake pops. Stick the skewer into a glass filled with sugar till they dry,” she says.

Arancini made from rice
Leftover rice can be used to make Sicilian rice balls, Arancini. “Use cooked rice that is gooey. For the filling, saute chopped onions, grated carrots and thinly sliced french beans till they are cooked but not limp,” says Goa-based food blogger Aparna Balasubramanian. “Season with salt, pepper and, if needed, Italian herbs and chilli powder.

Once cool, add grated mozzarella cheese to this. Beat an egg and add to the rice. Roll a handful of rice. Make a hole, stuff it with filling and close. Roll this in breadcrumbs.

Deep fry in hot oil till golden brown,” she adds. Bhakri rotis can be made from overcooked rice, says Delhi-based food blogger Sangeeta Khanna. “Add millet flour, onions, chopped coriander leave and make rotis,” she adds.

Moulding dal into chapatis and more
Aparna Balasubramanian transforms dal into chapatis/parathas every time she has leftover lentils. “I run the dal through a mixer to make it smooth.

I, then, knead it for chapatis or parathas. The dal makes for very soft phulkas,” she explains. Leftover upma can also be made into flat patties, by covering it with seasame seeds and shallow frying them, says Sangeeta Khanna.

Uttapam made from Vegetable raita
Vegetable raita is, perhaps, one of the most difficult dishes to tweak into a new dish, thanks to the curd in the dish. “The raita gets a bit sour if you keep it for a long time,” points out Sangeeta Khanna.

Pic for Representation onlyPic for Representation only

“So to the vegetable raita, I add besan and a little suji or rice powder or ragi flour or millets and cook it into an uttapam.” “You can cook the uttapam along with curry leaves and chilli. I usually serve it with gun powder, as it already has many vegetables inside it,” adds Khanna.

Kothu parotta from chapatis
Arundati Rao spent her college years in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, where Kothu Parotta (a minced or shredded version of the paratha) was a favourite.

This popular south Indian dish, she explains, can be made with leftover chapatis. “For this, first you need to shred the chapatis into small pieces. Heat oil and add onions, tomatoes and spices to it. I like to add a bit more red chilli powder as it gives a kick.

You can also add readymade masalas like meat masala, scrambled eggs, sausages, leftover shredded chicken and the like. Add the shredded chapatis and garnish the dish with coriander or pudina,” explains Rao. Chapatis and parathas can also be cooked like poha, after running the rotis through a blender.

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