Root to Stem Cooking by Stephen Lunny

Root-to-stem cooking is a fancy term for fully using a fruit or vegetable—it’s a great way to minimise food waste and maximise nutrition and flavour and save a few dollars.

In her recent book, Nigella Lawson shares a recipe for a Banana Skin Curry. I was always hesitant to share my Indian Banana Peel Recipe thinking there would be little uptake from community however Nigella has, so why not!. Why don’t you give it a go.

I’ll couple it with a Watermelon Rind Curry then you can finish off with a Banana and Watermelon Fruit Salad.

Tasty,  refreshing and so very affordable.


The Menu

Banana Peel Thoran

Watermelon Rind Curry

Roti’s and Rice

Watermelon and Banana Fruit Salad


Kerala style banana peel thoran is a delicious stir fried dish made with banana peels, spices and coconut.


  • peels removed from 4 medium bananas
  • 1 small onion or 2-3 shallots – chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds 
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • 1 dry red chili, kept whole
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder 
  • 1 tsp assafoetida
  • 3 tablespoon desiccated coconut or freshly grated coconut
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • salt as required


preparation to make banana peel thoran

  1. First rinse the bananas. When removing the peels, soak them in a bowl of water, so that they don’t darken.
  2. You can also soak them in water in which about 1/4 tsp turmeric powder is added.
  3. Slice the black dark spots from the peels if there are any and chop them finely.

making banana peel thoran

  1. Heat oil in a pan. First crackle the mustard seeds.
  2. Add the chopped onion or shallots. Saute till the onions are transparent.
  3. Now add the red chili, green chili, cumin powder, asafoetida/hing, and curry leaves.
  4. Saute for some seconds. Add the turmeric powder and stir.
  5. Add the banana peels and the coconut.
  6. If using fresh coconut, then coarsely ground the grated coconut, green chilies and cumin seeds and add it at this stage.
  7. Sprinkle salt and stir. Add about 1/4 or 1/2 cup water. Cover the pan and let the peels cook till they are done.
  8. Check in between to see the doneness and also to see if the thoran has not dried up whilst cooking.
  9. Add some more water if required if the peels are still not done and cover and cook further.
  10. When the peels are cooked and if there is some moisture or water in the pan, then just dry it on low flame.
  11. Serve the banana peel thoran hot with some steamed rice.


A delicious way to use leftover watermelon peel. Makes a lip-smacking meal that goes really well with Rotis and rice


  • 9 cups Watermelon Rind,chopped
  • 1/8 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1-2 Dry Whole Red Chilies,
  • 8-10 curry leaves, washed
  • Pinch of Asafoetida
  • 3 Tbsps. oil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 2 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Black salt
  • Salt as needed, keeping in mind we are adding black salt
  • squeeze of lemon/lime(optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar(optional)


  1. Remove the Green skin of the watermelon and discard. Chop the tender white Rind into pieces,
  2. In hot oil, add Fenugreek seed and cook till golden in colour
  3. Add Mustard and Cumin seeds and let them splutter
  4. Add pinch of Asafoetida, curry leaves and dry whole Red Chilies
  5. Add chopped watermelon rind, ,red chili powder, turmeric, paprika, coriander powder and black salt and cook on high for 5 minutes
  6. Cover and cook over medium for 5-7 minutes
  7. Remove cover and cook till rind is cooked and water dries up.
  8. Adding a squeeze of lemon/lime and a spoonful of sugar is optional(I did not add any)


The Rind has high water content. No water is added during cooking. Due to high water content, the water dries up to yield 2 cups. Adding sugar and lemon juice is optional.