Thursday, February 2, 2012

Don't discard the peels - Orange peels gojju

I have very high regard for people that create new dishes. I always think I haven't actually dished out an 'original', do you know what I mean? Remember the English class from school where they taught us the difference between 'invention' and 'discovery'? the first one alluded to something new that didn't exist before while the second one was more of uncovering a hidden truth. When I think about my cooking, I feel like I am just copying and tweaking those recipes created by somebody in most cases to suit my taste and available ingredients - in essence 'rediscovering' recipes.

Think about a dish like Orange peel gojju, the main ingredient here is the peels of an orange. Making a delectable dish from a discard is not intuitive. For my unimaginative but slightly scientific brain, it is just a peel that comes with the fruit, protects the fruit and gets discarded when the fruit is consumed. But somebody with an imagination felt they could actually turn these peels into a delicacy by adding a few spices. I am glad I have had the privilege of tasting this wonderful flavor of a dish. We love it any day as much as we love the dear oranges.

Well, this is a gojju nammamma often made during Orange season in India - typically winter months. Very pantry friendly, the recipe uses spices usually found in any well stocked home and can be made in a jiffy. It makes for a very good side dish and gives your taste buds an extra kick of flavors. Gojju refers to a spicy gravy in kannada and this is one of the many varieties of gojjus prepared.

What do you need to make Orange peel gojju?
Peel of 2 oranges - washed, cut into thin strips or chopped fine. I like the bite and so cut it into strips.
Juice of one orange
1 Tblsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tblsp crushed jaggery/brown sugar
4-5 curry leaves
1 Tblsp cooking oil
1/2 Tsp turmeric powder
1 Tsp mustard seeds/saasive
For the masala:
2 Tblsp grated coconut - fresh or frozen
1 Tsp chana dal/kadle bele
1/2 Tsp methi seeds/menthya
1 Tsp white sesame seeds/ellu
1/2 Tsp cumin/jeerige
2 medium red chilies
3-4 black pepper corns
How do you make Orange peel gojju? 
  • Add a few drops of oil and a pinch of salt & turmeric to the washed orange peels and set aside for 10 minutes. This helps to mellow down the slight bitterness of the peels. 
  • Rinse the peels in water and squeeze them to remove excess water. You can skip these 2 steps entirely if you like the strong taste of the peels.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds & curry leaves.
  • When mustard seeds crackle, add the cleaned orange peels and fry for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat until the peels soften a little. 
  • Heat a pan on medium high, roast all the ingredients under 'masala' except for the coconut until the dal turns light brown and a nice smell surrounds your kitchen. 
  • Once the spices cool down to room temperature, grind it along with coconut & a Tblsp of fried orange peels to a smooth paste by adding water. This should not be very thin but of the thick chutney consistency served with Dosa/idlis.
  • Add the mixture to the remaining peels, add salt, jaggery/brown sugar and orange juice and let it boil for 5 minutes. 
  • Adjust the consistency of the gojju by adding water as needed, the gojju thickens once it cools down.
We like to eat it on the side with rice or roti. A favorite way is to mix it with hot rice with a drizzle of oil/ghee and eat it with fresh cut onion slices, yummmm... 

  • Make the gojju a little watery so you don't end up with a dry mixture when it cools down. 
  • I strongly recommend tasting the gojju when it is boiling to adjust levels of salt & jaggery, you will see a filibuster of flavors in the mouth when you eat it. 
  • You can use dry coconut gratings to increase the shelf life of the gojju or if you plan to pack it for a trip. 

1 comment:

NamsVeni Pothas said...

Orrange peel gojju is a very exiting recipe truly we never think of the poor peel. your recipe is very simple and mouth watering . no need to say it is a healthy side dish. just we can eat like that. any other gojjus to taste?