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Red pumpkin peel chutney

Food waste is a major concern across the globe today. It usually arises from affluence and the drive by modern chefs to plate the dish perfectly. However, in countries like India which struggle with large populations, using all edible parts of the plant, or animal, is core to the culture.

Pumpkins are very versatile. They are easy to grow and every part of the plant is used. Some of the leaves are edible, and so are the seeds. The skin is used in Western cuisine to make stocks, and in Indian cuisine, the peel is also made into chutneys.

This lovely chutney is bold and beautiful. The bright orange is attractive and it pops with a gentle heat. It si sweet, tart and spicy, and pairs well with most foods on the table. This is a chutney that makes a statement, both about you as a chef and about your ethos for cooking and food waste.

Romancing the chilli is a lovely cookbook that starts with the history of the chilli plant and its travel from Mexico to India and Africa. It delves into the fact that India is one of the largest growers of chillies in the world, but is also the largest consumer of chillies. This book delves into recipes from across the globe, from exotic Indian chutneys to other global condiments. This is a cookbook for those who love spicy foods.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


Peels from the pumpkin, about 1 cup

3-4 tablespoons water

2-3 dried red chillies

2 tablespoons urad dal

1 tablespoon split chana dal

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons oil

6-8 curry leaves

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1 tablespoon jaggery

Salt, to taste

Dry roast the spices, dried red chillies, urad dal, chana dal and sesame seeds individually till aromatic and lightly coloured. Cool and grind to a fine powder.

Add the spice powder and peels to a small blender with the water and pruèe to a smooth paste. You want just enough water to allow the ingredients to purèe well.

Heat the oil in a small pot and sautè the curry leaves for 10 seconds. Add the pumpkin purèe, tamarind, jaggery and salt and mix in well. Cook till the pumpkin smells aromatic and is no longer raw about 12-15 minutes. The sauce will thicken and the oils will glisten on the surface.

Serve in a bowl.

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