Every salad should include fried bread, period
There’s nothing quite like plantains. This versatile, starchy fruit is used in a ton of sweet and savory dishes throughout the world. But, what about the plantain peels? In my recent series, I’ve been looking for ways to use common food scraps and transform them into mouth-watering meals. And this recipe shows that even the peels of plantains can be turned into a sustainable meal.
Kesel Pothu Mallum is a Sri Lankan recipe shared with me by Oshini. The dish is a stir-fry of plantain peels and spices that can easily be enjoyed alone or over a pile of rice. Oshini shares that it’s not uncommon in Sri Lanka to cook with plantain peels, but this particular recipe is certainly not common. Oshini’s grandmother invented her version of Kesel Pothu Mallum one day as she was experimenting with ways to use the plantain peels instead of throwing them away. Oshini has been eating and enjoying the dish ever since.
As a stir-fry dish, Kesel Pothu Mallum is wonderfully easy to make. You’ll start by adding diced pieces of washed plantain peels to a large skillet or wok followed by some turmeric, curry powder, and curry leaves. Cover everything with water, sit back, and wait until all the water has evaporated and you’re left with a beautiful curry. But Oshini’s grandmother didn’t just stop there because this recipe also calls for a coconut sambal. A blended mixture of shredded coconut, curry powder, and green chilies, the coconut sambal brings even more spice and flavor to this dish. The sambal and curry are all served together over rice for a homemade batch of Kesel Pothu Mallum.
I love how Kesel Pothu Mallum uses scraps, but feels far from scrappy. It’s savory and spicy, thanks to the chili peppers and has a slightly crunchy texture from the plantain peels. This is a dish that’s purposeful, complex, and balanced, yet simple and affordable to make. Kesel Pothu Mallum is a perfect example of how you can turn food trash into pure culinary treasure. It’ll certainly make you think twice about tossing those plantain peels.
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