Curry Leaf Flavoured Makhana / Roasted Phool Makhana Recipe
When it comes to all season snacking, one of my favourite is Makhana or Fox Nuts. I can proudly say the best part about following a diet is having some makhana for company. This is an ideal snack to carry when travelling as it is extremely light weight and can help you stay off those chips and fries sold at the airport. Since my husband keeps travelling often, makhanas are always his go to option when sitting in a cab and moving from one location to other.
Irony is while growing up, I never knew these existed or people elsewhere had this as part of snack / fasting or vrat. We had the Thamarai Thandu or the Lotus Stem or Kamal Kakdi as they call in Hindi instead. Nadru in Kashmir is a popular delicacy and they make delicious Koftas out of them. The Thamarai Thandu that we, South Indians consume is generally washed well as they are full of mud and impurities, soaked in salt and turmeric and then cut into discs, sun dried and stored in containers to be deep fried the entire year around. They are fried and served as vathals to be eaten with sambar rice or Kozhumbus, curd rice etc. That was and still remains a favourite.
Since I love reading about the ingredients I use in kitchen, a little digging on Wikipedia and I found that the Chinese had cultivated the lotus plant over 3000 years ago. The earliest recorded use of this plant was in Israel among the artifacts of the Acheulean culture some 790 – 750000 years ago.
Phool Makhana or Fox Nuts are nothing but lotus seeds or Kamal ke beej. They have been extensively used in Ayurvedic Medicines. Foxnuts are vegan and gluten free and have low GI so an ideal snack for diabetics and people who are gluten allergic too. They are a source of good carbs besides being rich in other nutritional benefits. Due to its low sodium content, it’s an apt snack for patients suffering from high Blood pressure. Loaded with fibre, helps you stay full hence great for weight loss, during fasts etc.
Phool Makhanas or Fox Nuts not only are a good snack option but also form part of your delicious main course dishes too. Add it to spinach puree or your regular palak paneer or desserts like Kheer and Pinni (popular in North). My favourite, however, remains the makhana palak paneer which goes well with any Indian Flatbreads or Jeera rice. Will share the recipe someday on the blog.
With schools re-opened, you can make a batch of these and store it in an airtight container and ensure your kids snack healthy during the day and after school too.
While I love the lightly sautéed Makhana with rock salt and ghee, I love adding spice mixes to give it an interesting twist. I had some extra curry leaf powder that we usually have it with steamed rice and ghee and decided to add it to the makhanas that I was anyways roasting and it turned out to be super delicious with a South Indian touch.
The Curry Leaf Spice Mix recipe that I am sharing below has dual purposes – adding as a spice mix for makhana and can be consumed, mixed with rice too. Found this interesting? Do let me know how it turned out.
Ingredients for the Curry Leaf Spice Mix
- 1 cup Curry Leaves
- 4 to 7 nos. Pepper Corns (depends on your spice level)
- 4 to 5 Whole red chillies
- ¼ cup Urad Dal
- 2 tblsp Chana Dal
- 1 tblsp black sesame seeds
- 2-3 drops of oil for roasting the dal / ingredients
- Salt as per taste
- A pinch of Hing
Method to make the Curry Leaf Powder / Masala
- Heat a pan and dry Roast curry leaves and keep aside (no oil required for roasting).
- The leaves will turn completely dry and wilt. Ensure low heat at all times to prevent burning. Empty the contents in a bowl and move towards the next step,
- Add few drops to the pan, roast the urad dal followed by chana dal, pepper corns along with the whole red chilies.
- When the dals turn brownish in colour, empty the contents in a bowl and set it aside for cooling.
- In the same pan, heat the sesame seeds until it pops a bit and then keep aside for cooling.
- Once the ingredients have cooled down, in a mixer grinder jar, add all the ingredients.
- Add hing and salt and grind It to a smooth powder.
- Store it in an airtight container.
- Stays good for over a month or so in a refrigerator.
- Can be mixed with rice and ghee and eaten.
How to make the flavoured Makhana?
- Heat a kadhai, add some ghee, pop the required quantity of Makhanas with some salt (careful as the spice mix has some), add the required spice mix, toss and switch off the flame.
- Cool and store in an airtight container for anytime munching.
Recipe Notes –
- Black Sesame Seeds can be replaced with the white variety too.
- The peppercorns give it a south Indian touch, don’t skip that. However, if you find it too spicy, reduce the quantity.