I hate waste especially as it relates to food. I am glad my wife feels the same way. In our house, the kids are expected to finish whatever is on their plate. Groceries are seldom thrown away unused and we try and figure out a way to consume anything we buy. Given that we live in Texas, restaurant portions can be, well, Texas-sized, so we bring leftovers home and consume them later.
I hadn’t consciously thought of this till recently. One morning last week, my mom, who is visiting from India, decided to recycle leftover Cholle for breakfast as patties. As I was teasing her for not letting anything go to waste, I started thinking about why is my mom the way she is. My parents, and my parents-in-laws grew up in an India of scarce resources. They were middle class (the classic definition, not the new political take on it) and had to manage with little. As a result, it was drilled into all of us from early childhood that waste is bad, frugality is good and one should consume what only what one needs. While this was never explicit, it is amazing how ingrained this belief system is in both my wife and I.
Anyway, my mother had cooked us some Cholle for a meal and there was quite a bit leftover. So she did what any good cook does. She improvised. She chopped some onion and green chili. Heated the Cholle and dried off the water to make them really thick. Then mashed the chickpeas with some bread slices (End slices. She was thinking reducing waste here as well). Added the onion, green chilies and fashioned patties out of the mix. This she pan fried and voila, she had veggie burgers. They tasted great. You can add potatoes, rice, grain, quinoa, all kinds of stuff to them if you like. You and your imagination can do whatever you like with these. Amazing stuff.