1. Heat oil/ghee in a pan.
2. Add Makhana and roast it for 8-10 mins until it becomes crunchy on low flame.
3. Add all the powders ( turmeric, amchoor, roasted jeera, red chilli, chaat masala, salt).
4. Stir well until the spices are well coated to the Makhanas.
5. In a bowl, put the chopped vegetables (onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves).
6. Add spiced makhana to the chopped vegetable bowl, add 2tsp of lemon juice and give it a toss.
7. Garnish with sev and pomegranate.
Your Makhana/FoxNut Chaat is ready!
1. You can also add green and tamarind chutney for enhancing the taste.
2. Roasted peanuts can also be a good addition.
Makhanas/ Fox Nuts can be a natural and nutritious addition to your regular diet. Caramelized Makhana is crunchy, sweet, and healthy. Kids and adults equally love this. Try it!
Cook time: 10 mins Serves: 2-3
Makhana – 2 cups
Jaggery – 3/4 th cup
Ghee/butter – 2-3 tbsp
Desiccated unsweetened Coconut – ½ cup(optional)
1. Heat t tbsp ghee/butter in a pan.
2. Add Makhana and roast it for 8-10 mins till it becomes crunchy, on low flame. In the same add desiccated coconut and cook for 1-2 mins and keep it aside.
3. On the other pan, take 1-2 tbsp of ghee and 3-4 tbsp of jaggery and heat on low flame until jaggery melts and starts to bubble.
4. Switch off the flame and add the roasted makhanas into the mixture. Stir well until the jaggery is coated well with the makhanas.
5. Cool it and store in an air-tight container.
Veganism is a growing trend. As of 2018, the size of the global vegan food market was calculated to be worth $12.69 billion and the numbers are growing every year.
For the uninitiated, a vegan diet is one that excludes any food that comes from an animal. This includes eggs, dairy, meat, fish, poultry, and even honey. A vegan diet is also called a plant-based diet.
While veganism has its benefits, vegans are faced with a dilemma when it comes to meeting their nutritional needs. If not careful, vegans can be deprived of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins, which may impair certain bodily functions in the long run.
This has pushed food companies in pursuit of processed plant-based alternatives that are nutrition-rich and competent with their animal-based counterparts.
Considering that processed foods are not particularly healthy and are high in fat, the attention is now shifting to natural plant-based foods that can help vegans supercharge their diets. This is where makhana comes into the picture.
What is Makhana and How Can It Solve Your Nutritional Problems
Makhana is the popped seed of lotus plant or water lily. Commonly called fox nuts or lotus seeds, makhana is a completely plant-based, non-cereal snack, similar to popcorn in appearance.
Makhana is widely used in the preparation of curries, raita and sweets. With increasing awareness about health and wellness, people are now going back to the once-forgotten snack for its health and nutritional benefits.
Although makhana has been in use for many decades, it is a new addition to the list of superfoods. Unlike western superfoods like kale, blueberries and avocados, makhana is easily available in the country.
To understand the role of makhana in a vegan diet, let’s consider an example:
Phosphorus is vital for the formation of bones and teeth and plays an important role in how our body uses carbohydrates and fats. Non-vegans have no problem meeting their phosphorus needs as foods like dairy, seafood and meat are rich sources of the mineral.
Adding just 1 cup of makhana (32g) to your vegan diet will provide 20% of the body’s daily recommended percentage of phosphorus, which is higher than most plant-based food sources out there. When makhana is a part of a balanced plant-based diet, it can supercharge your body with a complete nutritional package and keep various health problems at bay.
Common Problems Faced by Vegans and How Makhana Comes to the Rescue
Junk Food Veganism
This is a highly used term in the vegan circle. Vegan junk food is the most mainstream vegan food option today.
Vegans are commonly caught off-guard when hit by untimely hunger pangs. This leads to dependence on processed and junk foods that are not particularly healthy.
To deal with the challenge, you can prepare a batch of roasted makhana and store it. With this, you have a nutritious, low-calorie snack ready for guilt-free binging when you feel hungry.
Also, makhana is rich in fibre and proteins which help in feeling full longer and prevent untimely snacking. This is helpful when you are trying to lose weight.
As mentioned earlier, choosing to stay away from dairy and meat can deprive vegans of essential vitamins and minerals. A busy lifestyle can lead to haphazard diet patterns and make the problem worse.
Are supplements the only solution? No.
Makhana can solve this problem as just one cup can provide 37% manganese, 20% phosphorus, 17 % magnesium, and 14 % of thiamin along with other vitamins and minerals. The percentage indicates daily recommended values of these nutrients.
All you have to do is snack on a handful of makhana and your body will thank you for it.
The Protein Challenge!
Protein is vital as our body needs it to build and repair tissues.
Although there are many plant-based protein sources to choose from, they are not all complete proteins. Complete protein sources are those which have all nine essential amino acids in them.
Another challenge with a vegan diet is ‘protein packaging’. When we eat protein-rich foods, we are not only consuming protein but everything else that accompanies it. For example, when you eat beans, seeds, and nuts, you are also consuming the fats that come with them.
Makhana is especially helpful in addressing both these problems. Research shows that lotus seed protein is nutritionally well balanced and significantly important for including in diets. Also, makhana comprises 19.8% protein and negligible amount of fats, which makes it an ideal protein package for a vegan diet.
Gluten? No Thanks.
Are you allergic to gluten?
Substitution of wheat flour with gluten-free flour has been receiving considerable attention lately.
Unlike wheat and barley, makhana is gluten-free. With the growing awareness about gluten-free foods, extensive studies advocate powdered makhana as a healthy and gluten-free alternative over wheat and refined flours.
Makhana powder can be blended with wheat or all-purpose flour in 1:1 proportion to make roti and parathas. This helps in cutting down gluten intake to almost half the original amount and increases the nutritional value of your meal.
To summarize, makhana is a protein-rich, low-fat, and gluten-free superfood, ideal for including in a plant-based diet.
Makhana has diverse applications; while some people use it as a tasty tea-time snack, others use it in curries, sweets, and parathas.
By eating makhana, you are not only helping your health, but are also doing your part to support local farmers who are involved in makhana cultivation for their livelihood.
Do you have fond memories of munching on ghee-roasted Makhana during childhood?
The pale-coloured, crunchy and nutritious balls are indeed tasty and form an integral part of many Indian households.
So what exactly is Makhana?
Makhana is popularly known as Lotus Seed. Depending on the region, it is also called Gorgon Nut, Fox Nut or Phool Makhana.
If you are new to makhana, think of it as a snack just like popcorn. While popcorn is nothing but popped corn, Makhana is popped Lotus seed. To elaborate, it is the edible starchy kernel found inside the lotus seed.
Although making popcorn is simple, extracting makhana from hard-coated lotus seeds is a laborious and time-consuming job. But the good news is that you don’t have to worry about any of that. Popped makhana is readily available in the market, both in plain and flavoured forms.
Makhana is considered a pious food in India and is offered to the Gods during Navratri. For people who go on fasts, dry or ghee roasted makhana is a healthy yet tasty alternative over the usual sabudana and potato fries.
In its original form, makhana has a bland taste and takes on the flavour of the dish you add it to. This is the reason why it is used in several Indian foods and sweet dishes like Makhana Kheer, Khoya Makhana, Makhana Raita, Makhana Halwa, and so on.
Makhana paste is highly popular in countries like China and Japan, where it is widely used in pastries and desserts.
Where Does Makhana Come From?
As said earlier, Makhana is the popped seed of Lotus or makhana plant. The plant is a member of the water lily family and commonly grows on wetlands and ponds.
Makhana plants adjust well to the Indian tropical climate. While they grow naturally in some places, makhana plants are cultivated commercially in some parts of Bihar, central and eastern pockets of India by local folks. Bihar alone is responsible for 90% of India’s Makhana production.
Lotus or Makhana Plants bear fruits that hold the Makhana seeds inside. Once ripe, the seeds are extracted, cleaned, and assorted for further processing. The black (or brown), hard-coated makhana seeds go through repeated heating and cooling to prepare them for popping.
When ready, the tempered seeds are roasted in a traditional earthen pot or a cast iron pan at high temperature and popped manually using a mallet or hammer. The hammering requires skilled manpower as a few seconds delay in hammering would lead to poor quality popped makhana. In some places, Makhana popping machines are used for safety and efficiency.
Although Makhana is a seasonal crop, it is commercially available throughout the year because of excellent shelf life.
What is Makhana Made Of
These small, round balls are powerhouses of energy and are highly nutritious. Makhana is low in Fat and high in Carbohydrates, Proteins and Minerals; a combination eagerly desired by today’s health-conscious society. The nutritional profile is similar to wheat and other power-packed cereals.
A 32g serving of Makhana (daily recommended dosage for adults) approximately adds up to 106 kCal, which is very reasonable. Since they have high protein and low-fat content, they help one stay full longer after eating. For the same reason, makhanas are great for dealing with untimely hunger pangs, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
Apart from being a good snack, makhana also has immense medicinal value and is used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It is neutral in nature and helps maintain a healthy balance in the body.
According to Ayurveda, makhanas have a Madhura (sweet) taste and are helpful for people with Pitta or Vata dosha. They also help increase strength and stamina, and provide nourishment to the heart, testes, uterus and ovaries.
More Health Benefits of Makhana
A Healthy Heart
Low in Sodium and High in Potassium, Makhana helps in regulating blood pressure. It is especially useful in helping pregnant women deal with Hypertension. Higher amounts of Magnesium in Makhana improve blood and oxygen levels and prevents the risk of heart diseases.
Diabetes? No Problem!
Makhana has a low Glycemic Index; which means it doesn’t spike your blood glucose levels immediately after eating. (If you are Diabetic, please consult a physician to know the healthy amount you can consume.)
Say Goodbye to Wrinkles
Makhana contains Flavonoids that help destroy free radicals in the body. This activity slows down the ageing process and prevents wrinkles, white and thinning hair. It also improves the circulatory system and lowers cholesterol levels.
Time For Some Detox?
Makhana is neutral in nature and helps in keeping your kidneys in good shape. It also helps in detoxifying the spleen.
High fibre content in Makhana eases passage of bowels and helps deal with constipation and indigestion. Makhana is easily digested by all age groups, which makes it suitable for children and the elderly.
Relieves Postnatal Issues
Makhana is recommended for women during pregnancy and postnatal weaknesses. Being an aphrodisiac, it is also useful in treating sexual problems in men and women.
So How are you planning on using Makhana?
Popped makhana seeds are a great addition to a cooked Indian breakfast, curry or raita. You can even replace heavy, oily fries with crunchy and nutritious ghee-roasted makhanas for tea-time snack.
With different flavours of Makhana available in the market today, your taste buds are definitely in for a treat. After all, what are the odds to resist a snack that is both healthy and tasty?