Food trends change every year and 2019 ended with zero waste, sustainability and plant based diet being talked about the most. Many institutions and industry experts have predicted that these trends are going to be seen in restaurants too in 2020. And then I wonder, how our Bengali kitchens have been trendy forever. Potato skins, bottle gourd peel, cauliflower leaves and stalks, green banana peel and so many other peels and stalks have always been cooked in Bengali households. Alur khosha bata and alur khosha bhaja, have both been our favourites. In these times of lockdown, when we cannot go out to buy vegetables everyday, we make do with whatever we have.
Don’t throw away the potato skins, make alur khosha bata
For that matter, don’t throw away any vegetable peel. The skins have the maximum amount of nutrition. Potato skins are a1 major source of vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, fibre and so much more. You can make crispy fries with potato skins, which are not deep fried. You can also make pakodas out of the peels. However, these are fried recipes. The healthiest way to make use of the potato skins are through this recipe of alur khosha bata.
Bengal, in its long history, has faced many harsh and difficult times. There were several foreign invasions over a long period of time. There was Bengal famine during world war II, there was also the great Bengal famine of 1770, partition of Bengal and so many events in history, which created direct impact on the economy. Bengali women got creative with whatever they could get hold of and sustained their kitchen. And I think, over time, these recipes became part of our tradition.
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Few Key points to remember
- Wash the potato skin thoroughly under running water before peeling them. It’s difficult to clean them after they have been peeled.
- Keep the skins soaked in water for 10 minutes and then discard that water and give it another rinse.
- Instead of boiling the skins, where all the nutrition will go away with the water, it is best to steam them. You could either put them in a steamer. Or put the skins inside a tiffin box and place in a pressure cooker with some water. Pressure cook for 10 minutes and once the steam releases, take the skins out.
- You can throw in any other vegetable peel with them. You can also add coriander leaves, green chilies and whatever flavour you want to.
- Sometimes, you can make this dish with small prawns, like I have done here in the pictures.
Serving and storing suggestions
Alur khosha bata is served with rice, preferably steamed white rice. For storing, cooking alur khosha bata can be kept in the refrigerator for a week. It can be frozen for up to a month. Sometimes, if you have too much peels, you can simply wash them, dry them and store them in a paper bag in the fridge for a couple of days before you cook them. You can even steam, make a paste and keep in the fridge for two days and the freezer for a month before taking them out and tempering with spices.
Here is an easy recipe of Alu Bati Chocchori which we love making at home
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Alur Khosha Bata
- potato peel of 4 -5 large potatoes
- 4 nos garlic cloves
- handful of coriander leaves
- 2 nos green chillies
- 1 cup small prawns optional
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp mustard oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder if you are using the prawns
- Wash the prawns, pat them dry and sprinkle turmeric powder and salt to taste. Keep aside. Skip this step, if you are not using prawns.
- Wash the potatoes thoroughly under running water before peeling the skin. Once peeled, keep the skin soaked in water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, discard the water and again rinse the peels.
- Put the potato skins in a steamer or put them in a tiffin box, transfer to a pressure cooker and cook for ten minutes. Once the steam has released and the potato skin has softened, let it cool down.
- In a grinder, add the potato skins, coriander leaves, green chillies, garlic and a pinch of salt. Grind to a coarse paste.
- In a frying pan or kadai, heat 1 tbsp of mustard oil and when the oil has reached a smoking point, add the prawns and lightly saute them and keep aside. Skip this step and directly go to the next step if you are not using prawns.
- In the same oil, add another 1/2 tsp of mustard oil. When it's hot, add nigella seeds and more green chillies if you wish to.
- Add the potato skin paste to the oil and cook on high flame. Stir continously, till the water has evaporated. Add the prawns and add sugar.
- Keep stirring or else it sticks to the bottom. Once it as become mushy, add salt to taste and drizzle half tsp of mustard oil from top.
- Turn off the heat and serve this with steamed white rice.