Not all of us know that the Phool Makhana or Foxnut is, actually, not a nut but the seed of a particular variety of water lily, and grows abundantly in the eastern parts of the country. It is eaten very commonly in Bihar in various ways ranging from Parathas to a simple trail-mix like snack.
Ayurveda attributes great virtues to this humble seed. It is used in maintaining cardiovascular health and enabling postpartum healing. Considered a source of healthy carbohydrates, Makhana also contains proteins and minerals and, is easy on the digestion.
Here are 5 delicious ways that you can incorporate Makhana in your everyday diet:
- Trail Mix: Check out this super simple recipe for a crunchy, satisfying, and nutritious Makhana Trail Mix. You can play around with the seasoning and try other masalas—add Pav Bhaji masala, for instance or Taco seasoning left over from takeaway! Either way, you will end up with an unusual and nutritious snack!
- Overnight Porridge: Oats are the universal choice when it comes to breakfast cereal, but you can also make yourself a dry Makhana mix and keep ready for the week and soak small quantities like you would for an overnight oats porridge. Dry roast some Makhana in an oven or in a kadhai. Crush roughly using a mortar and pestle (or simply fill them in a cloth bag and bash them up with a rolling pin). Mix with your choice of nuts, dried fruit, or seeds, flavouring such as cinnamon/cardamom powder or vanilla powder, or even cocoa, and store in an airtight box. Just before you go to bed, fill a jar half way up with the Makhana mix and add milk of choice. Stir once and leave the jar in the refrigerator. The next day, add fresh fruit or sweeteners as you like, and enjoy a truly great breakfast!
- Parathas: Ground Makhanas can serve as excellent gluten-free options for breads. It is an acquired taste, but rest assured you will acquire it rather quickly! Roast and grind the Makhana to a powder and store for a few weeks in a cool and dry place. Then, add these to mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes (they help to bind the dough) and add seasoning of choice. Roll out between sheets of cling film or on a heavily dusted workspace and cook on a tava like you would make any other paratha. Serve with pickles or yogurt.
- Curry: Phool Makhana lends itself very well to standard curry recipes; its crunchy, airy texture absorbs the flavors of the curry and makes the seed itself soft and comfortingly delicious. Make the base of the curry as you would for your favorite vegetable or meat curry and add the Makhanas as it simmers. Cook for barely three to four minutes and serve immediately.
- Raita: Run out of Boondi and not in the mood for vegetables? Bring out a bowl of roasted Makhana and add them to whisked yogurt flavored with roasted cumin seed powder and red chili powder for a surprisingly inviting raita. Pss—it’s also fasting friendly!