Leftovers get a makeover

Updated: Jun 27, 2020, 08:30 IST | Phorum Dalal | Mumbai

Four chefs share tips and recipes to create upcycled meals, thus ensuring nothing is wasted in your home pantry

Chef Mitesh Rangras's Fully Loaded Kheema Phulka Taco
Chef Mitesh Rangras's Fully Loaded Kheema Phulka Taco

An end-of-the-month sandwich should be a thing," Ankiet Gulabani writes on his drool-worthy Instagram handle Belly Over Mind, having moved from the city to Dubai a year ago. "The idea is to use up anything you find in your refrigerator. I create a dish using old ciabatta bread, pesto, sun dried tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, leftover ham and pepperoni slices, and the last bit of Mozzarella cheese from the chiller."

Smart in the kitchen

Ciabatta sandwich
Ciabatta sandwich

Leftovers don't always need to be discarded. Gulabani suggests using the fibre from juiced fruit and vegetables to add body to stews or to veggie burger patties. "My mum uses tomato skins to flavour the water she would add for a Sindhi tomato kadhi that turns the water into a quick consommé of sorts. Broccoli and cauliflower both have stems that you can finely chop and use in vegetable stir-fries. Ends of asparagus taste particularly delicious with parmesan in soup and a bit of bacon. Ginger peels can be used while brewing tea. Potato peels can be baked as chips," says Gulabani.

Ankiet Gulabani
Ankiet Gulabani

Dough try it

Writer and food consultant Romi Purkayastha is gung-ho about reimagining ingredients and dishes in her kitchen too. "It gets my creative juices flowing. I repurpose contents in my fridge regularly," she says, taking the dough as her canvas. "Everyone uses leftover chapatis to make rolls, khakra and sabzi but what happens to the dough that is sitting in the fridge for a few days, and is too hard for another batch of rotis?" She has not one but three ideas.


First, is to make Karnataka-style shankar pali, a savoury snack option. "Add rice flour, baking soda, ajwain, salt and dry chilli to the dough and roll it out. Cut it into squares and deep-fry it in oil or ghee. With tomato ketchup or pudina chutney, it's a heavenly combination," says Purkayastha. For those with a sweet tooth, she suggests malpuas. "To half a cup of dough, add a ripe banana, some dahi and fennel seeds. Mix it to a dosa batter consistency and deep-fry small pancakes in ghee. Dunk these in a sweet syrup of sugar or jaggery."

Romi Purkayastha
Romi Purkayastha

And finally, she suggests a halwa. "This one will take some work (and concentration). For a silky Karachi halwa texture, add two-and-a-half cups of water to half a cup of dough and let it rest for two hours. This mix will have a milky consistency. Strain to separate the gluten. Mix some sugar, saunf or fennel seeds and cook in a kadhai. Keep stirring till the mixture thickens and add ghee again. Repeat this exercise till the ghee starts separating. Transfer to a tray, pat it out and sprinkle some pumpkin seeds or cashew gratings."

Fully loaded kheema phulka taco


In chef Mitesh Rangras's Punjabi household, leftover kheema is a regular occurrence. "I turn it into open tacos for breakfast or lunch. I like breaking a fried egg in it too," he shares.


  • 200 g leftover kheema (chicken, mutton or soya)
  • 4 rotis 20 g cheese (cheddar or Amul) 30 g lettuce (romaine or iceberg) 2 tsp Tabasco
  • 3 tsp sriracha Taco seasoning 1 tbsp chilli powder ½ tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp oregano Salt to taste ½ tsp black pepper

For the salsa

  • ½ ripe tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • 5-6 jalapeno (pickled)
  • ½ lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

For the mint yoghurt

  • 30-40 g mint leaves
  • 20 g coriander leaves
  • 60 g Greek-style yoghurt
  • Black salt to taste
  • ½ green chili



For the Salsa, combine the ingredients and refrigerate in advance. Mix the Tabasco and sriracha and refrigerate. For taco seasoning, roast the cumin and pepper flakes in a pan. Make a powder and mix the other powders after it cools down. For the mint yoghurt, combine all ingredients and blend for a minute.

Make a smooth dressing

Assembly sequence: place the phulka on the plate, place lettuce, top with hot kheema. Grate cheese, salsa, drizzle the Tabasco and sriracha mixture. Sprinkle the seasoning and drizzle the yoghurt.

Carrot dahi kebabs



  • 2 cups hung curd
  • ¼ cup paneer
  • Half cup grated carrots
  • ¼ cup roasted gram flour 2 tsp corn flour
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp chilli ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste A pinch of sugar (optional)


Roast the grated raw carrots on a pan for about two minutes. Then, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Make round or oblong-shaped tikkis of the mixture.

Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Place the tikkis on the pan. Shallow-fry till crisp on both sides. Alternatively, one can also fry in oil or an air fryer. Serve hot with mint chutney or sweet chili sauce


Shital Kakad, owner Shital's Food Cottage cooking studio, Juhu

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