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Unzestful: Peel, Zest or Rind, the Indian Food Scene is Sorely Missing this Simple DIY Kitchen Ingredient!

use rind skin to flavor food
Zesting: Art of Extracting Peel, Rind or Zest 
It has been just about 3 hours since I saw a brilliantly rendered version of freshly caught fish marinated and then shallow fried. This episode was on one of those food shows and the theme was Spanish cooking that is high on using zest of lemons, oranges and other citrusy fruits. While it is also called the peel or rind in some parts of the world, the zest is essentially just the outermost part of the peel.

I have seen this in many European food-themed programs. These guys are big times users of peels, ensuring that they capture everything there is to value in any food that can naturally season the dish. The Indian way of cooking is perhaps least likely to do this. Here, the emphasis is on roasting, fast, slow, medium or at any pace that suits the doer. Overtly roasted meats and vegetables that have lost their natural essence is common to many types of regional Indian cuisines.

Despite the entry of global food cultures and inspirations drawn from globally renowned chefs, the Indian food scene seems somewhat hesitant to accept the virtues of using fruit skins, peels, zests or rinds. The most I have seen here is using the outer flakes of a dried lemon as a part of bigger baking ensemble. Why this apprehension? [Read about heavily roasted, DIY, home-cooked Halwa]

Zesting is essentially about Citrus Foods - Skins, Peels, Rinds Overwhelmed with Flavors

Hard to guess since Indians are now regularly getting more enthusiastic about salads and the use of natural ingredients – perhaps, just a case of misplaced anxiety! I have personally tried using the zest but my scraping methods were rudimentary, almost Cro-Magnon. Now, am trying to figure out the best picks in terms of peel-extracting and procuring supplies. Yes, all lemons or orange skins cannot be peeled that easily. You need to cover the basics here. Food item marked for zesting requirements need to be tight, ripe without any soft corners. To zest lemons or oranges, you need a peeler or a toothed knife. Finely grated zest is perhaps the best. Larger pieces take more time to intermingle and lose themselves to other ingredients. There are curly zesting tools in the market now that you can buy. I have Googled into this culinary art and seems like most people can get a handful of zest by using a Paring Knife.

1 comment:

  1. Zesting when done at the time of serving, with those really thin plaque-like things at the very top of the dish create this instant aura of authentic flavors, particularly zest of citrus foods like lemon and orange


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