5 recipes that will help you turn leftovers into entirely new dishes
Not everything can taste as good as a cold slice of pizza from the night before
Navigating the refrigerator has turned into a life-sized game of Jenga, and when things don’t go in your favour, it’s your mother’s beloved collection of Tupperware stuffed with leftovers that comes tumbling down.
For new cooks, it’s the inability to gauge portion size that results in two kilograms of biryani. For those who meal prep, assumptions gone wrong are the culprits – “Of course I can have dal chawal for 10 days in a row” (You cave in about three days and seemingly inhale the snacks cabinet – soggy makhana and all).
And parents, well… much like for most of their problems, they can hold their picky nuggets responsible for refusing to eat anything nutritious.
The bottom line is, studio or penthouse, single or celebrating half a decade together, parents or not sleep-deprived, leftovers and not knowing what to do with them unites us all.
So, we found five recipes to help you up your lockdown up-skill and re-skill game and transform your leftovers into entirely new dishes.
5 recipes to make the best of your leftovers
Photo credit: Timolina/Freepik
Noodle around with pasta
Pizza’s slimy cousin is not far behind when it comes to versatility.
From decadent lasagna to cold salads, it morphs easily from main course to appetiser, and in this case, from fine dining favourite to dressed-down finger food.
Pasta fritters from Recipetineats.com
- 3 cups pasta (mixed with pasta sauce and refrigerated)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Roughly chop the pasta.
- Add the eggs, breadcrumbs (start with three-fourths of a cup) and cheese. Mix and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Scoop up a ball of the mixture and flatten it slightly to test if it holds together.
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Scoop up a level one-third of a cup of the mixture, and place in the fry pan.
- Pat the mixture in order to make the patty’s thickness approximately one centimetre.
- Cook the first side for around two minutes or until it turns dark brown and crispy. Turn, then cook the other side until crispy.
- Remove from the pan and onto a paper towel to drain excess oil. Repeat the steps with remaining batter.
- Serve immediately. Garnish with finely chopped parsley leaves and freshly grated parmesan (optional).
Embrace the shapeshifting dal
Not living at home often leads to being stuck with unprecedented quantities of dal (a result of miscommunicated ratios by Masterchef mummy, courtesy fluctuating wi-fi).
That’s when you unleash the one superpower every 20 something-year-old living alone has – jugaad.
This recipe will help you make the most of dal, and is a great hack for parents to sneak some nutrition into kids’ meals.
Dal paratha by Ruchiskitchen.com
- 1 cup leftover dal
- 2 cups wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 small green chilli (chopped)
- 1/2 cup thick curd
- 2 tbsp gram flour
- 1 tbsp cilantro leaves or kasuri methi (chopped)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp oil
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, and knead into a smooth dough. If the dough is too watery, add more flour and knead till you have the desired texture and consistency.
- Divide the dough into equal parts and form balls. Sprinkle the dough balls with a little flour and flatten with your fingers.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the flattened dough balls into thin circles.
- Heat a pan. Once hot, put the paratha on to cook. Once slightly cooked on both sides, spread some oil on both sides and cook through completely.
Go for the mashed potato metamorphosis
What do you mean you didn’t eat the whole bowl in one sitting?
If you do, by some miracle, have leftover mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes that you could turn into mash, here is the one recipe that will make eating mashed potatoes at tea time acceptable.
Cheesy leftover mashed potato muffins by Justtaste.com
- 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 3 tbsp fresh chives (chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a non-stick muffin pan with cooking spray, butter or oil.
- In a large bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes, egg, three-fourth of a cup of cheddar cheese and two tablespoons chopped chives. All mashed potatoes will vary in consistency. If your mashed potatoes are thinner in consistency, add an additional egg to the mixture to thicken it.
- Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
- Using an ice cream scoop, divide the potato mixture evenly into the prepared muffin tray, packing the potatoes down into each cup.
- Bake the muffins for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and crisp around the edges.
- Remove the pan from the oven, top the muffins with the remaining cheddar cheese and return them to the oven for three more minutes. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for five minutes.
- Transfer the muffins to a serving dish, top them with the remaining chopped chives and serve immediately
Photo credit: Azerbaijan_stockers/Freepik
Meet the NRI kheer
Your nani and dadi have fed you the Indian version of this delicacy all your life, and it’s time to give it a global twist – presenting the NRI kheer for all the days you need a sugary warm hug in a bowl.
Spiced pudding with leftover rice by Tasty.co
- 2 cups rice (cooked)
- 3 cups milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (jaiphal)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- In a medium-sized pot, combine the rice, two cups of milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
- Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes, or until thick and creamy.
- In a small bowl, combine remaining milk and the egg. Whisk well.
- Add the egg mixture to the pot of rice. Stir well and cook for three minutes.
- Add the nutmeg and cinnamon, and mix well.
Photo credit: Freepik
Have your cake, and eat it too… on a stick
Instagram inspired you to give baking a go. So you did. And before you knew it, it consumed you, and you went rogue.
Now you’re stuck with four three-tiered cakes, and a very angry mother prepared to kill for fridge space.
Here’s how you can make sure your cake stands on its own feet, and maybe even cheer your fuming mum up.
Cake pops by Divascancook.com
- Leftover cake (any, preferably chocolate)
- A few spoonfuls of chocolate frosting
- Sprinkles (optional)
- White or milk chocolate
- If you have leftover frosted cake, then step one is to scrape off the frosting and place it in a bowl.
- Crumble the cake up into fine crumbs.
- Add in the frosting, a little at a time, until the cake can hold its shape once formed into a tight ball.
- Make as many as possible and place on a platter.
- Melt white or milk chocolate in a bowl.
- Dip the tip of the stick you will use for the cake pop into the chocolate.
- Insert the stick half-way into the pop.
- Freeze for about 20 minutes.
- Melt more chocolate in a glass container and get ready to dunk the pops in.
- After a pop is covered in chocolate, place it in an upright position in a cup or stick it into a styrofoam, to let the chocolate harden up.
- Stick the sprinkles onto the chocolate coating before it dries up.
- You can place it in the freezer to speed up the drying.