Columnists,Lorraine Cattell,Main Slider,Top Story l by Lorraine Cattell l 24 Jul 2023     - 28

Leftovers: Stretching your meals and your creativity

Sri Lanka is a country that is abundant in vegetables, fresh fruits, herbs and spices and yet, like other countries around the globe, food bought and thrown out by households, retailers, restaurants and other food services is in reality a serious problem. Food waste contributes tonnes of rubbish to the environment with ecological, economic and social implications.

Eat what's left, don't let it go to waste!

Think about this for a moment. Rather than throwing away leftover food, wouldn't it be better to join with those people who are tackling the problem of food waste, whilst stretching your meals and your creativity? Well, get this – there are numerous ways to make something tasty and nutritious from leftovers and Hi! is here to offer you a little inspiration!

What to make with leftover fruit

Did you know that fruit—particularly bananas—is the food that gets wasted the most in Sri Lanka?
We thought we'd share a tasty recipe for mouthwatering banana fritters because they're a rich source of potassium, fibre, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.

Honey-Drizzled Banana Fritters

  • Break 1 egg into a bowl, add ¾ cup of cow's milk, 1 cup of wheat flour, and salt to taste. Then whisk to make a smooth batter. Meanwhile, heat sufficient oil in a kadai.
  • Peel and cut 4 bananas into thin strips, dip them in the batter, then fry in the hot oil for around 4 minutes until crisp and golden brown before transferring to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
  • Arrange the fritters on a serving platter, drizzle with honey and serve hot.

What to make with leftover vegetables

Despite their popularity, potatoes are the most discarded vegetable, closely followed by carrots. However, leftover vegetables can be diced and added to soups or turned into delectable sauces that can be frozen. This nutritious dish produces a delightful vegetable curry that may be made as spicy or mild depending on your taste. It cooks in just 30 minutes, making it ideal for a quick and easy meal.

Aloo Gajar Matar Punjabi Style Dry Curry (potatoes, carrots & peas)

  • Peel and dice the leftover carrots and potatoes. Boil for 15 minutes, then leave to one side.

  • Heat a large kadai with 1 tablespoon of oil. Sauté cumin seeds, green chilies, and garlic for a few seconds. Add turmeric, red chili powder and salt.

  • Add the boiled potatoes, carrots and peas. Pour in a can of coconut milk, or if you want your curry less creamy, add a can of chopped tomatoes instead. Stir at regular intervals.

  • Let the curry simmer for around 10 minutes, then sprinkle in some chopped coriander

  • Serve with chapati or roti.

What to make with leftover fish

Leftovers of cooked fish can be used in a variety of delicious and nutritious ways. A few fillets can be easily transformed into fish cakes or tossed into fresh pasta. An easy recipe for a curry made from the previous day is provided here. The spices, a lot of oil and the sour tamarind juice all serve as preservatives.

Thalalpath “Malu Kirata” fish (sailfish) curry

  • Place the fish leftovers in a large wide bowl of water, add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder and rinse the fish. Completely drain any excess water.
  • Place a pan over the low–medium heat and pour in 3 tbsp oil.
  • Add the curry leaves (1 sprig), chopped garlic (2 tbsp), onions (1 finely sliced), and fenugreek (1 tsp) once the oil is hot.
  • Over low heat, sauté the ingredients for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onions start to soften (take care not to burn the fenugreek seeds).
  • Add 1 large diced tomato, 1/2 tsp. of turmeric, 1/2 tsp. of chilli powder, 2 green chilies, and a stick of cinnamon.
  • Turn the heat to low and simmer the tomato for three minutes, breaking it down.
  • Add the can of coconut milk (one cup). Season with salt and boil, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes.
  • Cook for another 5 minutes after adding the sailfish chunks.
  • Serve with string hoppers and a spicy pol/coconut sambol.

What to make with leftover chicken

Did you know that, if stored properly in the fridge, cooked chicken will keep for up to four days?
Here's a great recipe for reviving leftover chicken that has become a touch dry, by adding it to a noodle soup and letting it absorb all the flavourful broth.

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Chop 1 onion, 1 garlic clove, 2 carrots, and celery into fine-sized pieces.
  • Melt butter/oil in a pan and add all the vegetables. Cook over low heat for around 7–8 mins.
  • When vegetables become tender, add all the chicken pieces. Add 1 cinnamon stick, turmeric (¾ tsp), and chicken stock.
  • Stir to dissolve the stock and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook more for around 10–15 mins until chicken has cooked fully.
  • Remove and cut the chicken into small size pieces and put them back into the soup.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add noodles, more water or chicken stock (if needed) and some lemon juice. Then cook for a further 10 minutes.

So there you have it—some incredibly easy recipes to spark your creativity and tantalise your palate! There are no set guidelines when using leftovers, so you can adapt your dish to suit what's available. Use your leftovers in inventive ways and remember – one person’s leftovers are another person’s feast!

#leftovers #foodwaste #wastedfood #leftoverfood #leftoverfruit #leftovervegetables #leftoverchicken #leftoverfish #bananafritters #vegetablecurry #fishcurry #chickennoodlesoup #easyrecipes #fightwaste #nutritiousfood


Lorraine Cattell

Lorraine Cattell (Eyre) is a renowned international British Fashion Journalist. Her articles & interviews appear regularly in magazines & online across the globe.


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