Condiments Zephyr's Corner

Chutney Made With Vegetable Peels

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My mother used to cook most vegetables with the peel, and when they needed to be peeled, she made spicy chutneys out of them. Even the thick peel of white pumpkin was not wasted. She not only used it for making chutney, but also it them up finely and added to the urad-vadi batter along with chillies and curry leaves. After frying, they turned crisp and added a lovely texture to the vadis. Of course, we washed the vegetables and fruits thoroughly to clean dirt and pesticides, which anyway were not so rampant back then.

I recently came across this site which gives info on the nutritive value of the peel of some unlikely vegetables and fruits like onions and bananas. I am not sure of all of them, but know from experience that most of them are edible as I have continued using them in my own home. There are others I use and which the site does not list. Take a look here.

Talking of peels, I am reminded of an incident at college. We had to make a vegetable sandwich for our home science practical exam. Such an easy one, I thought and proceeded to make the sandwich quickly finishing it off with a tasteful presentation with a colourful collage of cucumber slices, tomatoes and a sprig of coriander. The other girls were still at work, cleaning their work tops and discarding lots of stuff. What were they discarding? I shrugged.

I got just about passing marks, most of which was for the presentation. My fault? I had not peeled the cucumber or trimmed the edges of the bread. So that was what the girls had been throwing in the bin!

I wonder if it had been the beginning of discard-peels-before-cooking period.

Today we have come full circle and are busy re-learning the wisdom we had discarded back then. And peels are back in favour!  Lemon and orange zest is used for cakes and desserts and even preserved, and spiced potato peel is roasted for a crisp snack. We are given lessons on their nutritive value by famous chefs who tell us to boil the peels to make stock when we can’t or don’t cook them.

Makes me think that had I given my exam today, I might have got full marks, for not only using the peel, but also not wasting food!

Today I am sharing the recipe of a spicy peel chutney that is a favourite in my family. When the boys were young, I never told them that I made it out of peels, lest they didn’t eat it. In Tamil we call this thuvaiyal/thogayal and I would tell them, ‘It is thogayal. Eat it!’ no matter how many times they asked what it was made of. Recently the younger one said, ‘But you never told us you made them out of peels!’ I merely grinned.

Mixed Peel Chutney

The other day I had made avial and had a lot of peel from white and yellow pumpkin, to which I added some ridge gourd – peel and all.


  • Mixed vegetable peel         — 2 cups thoroughly washed and chopped fine.
  • Mustard                              — ½ tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tbsp
  • Chana dal – 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind – small gooseberry sized ball or ½ tsp tamarind paste
  • Green chillies – 2-3 (or as per taste)
  • Red chillies                              — 1-2
  • Ginger – 1” piece
  • Coriander –  a handful, chopped
  • Hing/asafetida — a large pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • 1½ tsp oil for sautéing.
Ingredients for the chutney
Ingredients for the chutney


  • Heat a ½ tsp oil in a kadhai and add mustard. After it splutters, add hing and the dals – first the chana and then urad Saute a little and then add chilles.
  • Saute till the the dals turn golden brown. Remove and cool.
  • Now add the remaining oil and the chopped peel. Add a pinch of salt to help cooking faster. Saute well till the raw smell goes. Take care not to burn the peel.
  • In a mixer jar, take the tamarind, salt, ginger and the fried dal mixture and grind to a coarse powder.
  • Add the peels and grind. Halfway through, add the coriander leaves. The chutney has to be a bit coarse and not superfine.
  • This chutney can be eaten with rice, roti or idli/dosa. It can even be used as a dip for salads.

Vegetable Peels Chutney

Helpful Tips:

  • You can use the peel of ash gourd (white pumpkin), peel and pith of yellow pumpkin, bottle gourd (lauki), ridge gourd, the pith and seeds of snake gourd, etc.
  • You can use peel of a single vegetable or a mix of them.
  • You can substitute tomatoes for tamarind, but saute it before grinding.
  • A tbsp. of coconut or a couple of cloves of garlic can be added if you like. Go ahead and experiment!


    1. Oh we all love the peel chutney. It is versatile as the ingredients can also be varied. I would love you to do a orange peel preserve and share the recipe and of course the preserve too 🙂 It is really very nice. I will share the orange peel chutney recipe in return, ok?

  1. Even seeds of jackfruit and several
    othe fruits are made use of for making
    dishes. I am not sure if it is good
    for health but I have a habit of eating
    mangoes with the peel. My wife and
    my daughter rip the fruity portion
    off the peel and throw the peel away.
    My wife was really surprised when she
    found me eating mangoes with the peel.
    Actually the truth is I am too lazy
    and find it cumbersome to bit of the

    1. Eating mangoes with the peel is perfectly safe, if you like the slight bitter taste. In fact, in my childhood, we never peeled any mango. Do check out the link I have shared which gives the list of peels that can be eaten along with their nutritive values. There are hundreds of uses for peels including composting, so I just shared this one recipe.

  2. The description and little stories made the recipe more tempting. I too use peels to make chutney but my recipe is different. Need to try this one. Mom made one more use of all the peels, dried, powdered and used as body scrub. She used to add turmeric and mint for added benefits.

    1. Thank you for the kind words about my anecdotes and stories 🙂 Please share your chutney recipe, Sunita. It would be interesting to try out a different kind of chutney. Our elders maximised every little thing, didn’t they? What an economical and healthy alternative to all those expensive scrubs!

  3. Hi Zephyr, I’ve been a reader of Suranga Tai’s blog for a couple of years and sometimes I read the blogs she reads! Like Dr Roshan and I recently read yours….you’re doing an amazing job of posting vegetarian recipes which are hard to come across. A veg cooking blog I absolutely love is Nupur’s One Hot Stove. The young lady is a scientist, Mum and has this wonderful blog. Thanks so much Zephyr

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, Shubha! You should go through the archives of Everyday Veg Cooking for the wonderful satvic recipes posted by my friend Suman too. I am sure you will find many wonderful recipes. Your friend’s blog sounds interesting. Will check it out 🙂

    1. Good to see you here, Purba! Yes, you should try it out and await my post on orange peel desi marmalade one of these days when I get good oranges with juicy peel 🙂

  4. My mother used peels to make chutneys too. I specially remember the dry crispy chutney she used to make with the ridge gourd peel adding roasted sasame and dry coconut ! Yum !
    Thanks for sharing the interesting peel chutney recipe !

    1. Roasted sesame seed sounds interesting. Somehow I don’t like the flavour of jeera in these chutneys. I have never tried with dry coconut either. What about other ingredients?

    1. Oh! We just need a little oil. Actually we can wilt the peel first on a dry kadhahi and then add a little oil to complete the sauteing. We can also make chutneys with the same recipe using vegetables like cabbage, yellow pumpkin and even snake gourd. I don’t add jeera or other spices, as I like to have the flavour of the vegetable in full. You can try adding them.

    1. Oh, you must try it! You can also make chutneys with a mix of peels and vegetables or just vegetables too. Do try with the pith and seeds of snake gourd sometime. It is delicious.

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