Aloo Makhana Pops is a delicious and easy snack made with boiled potatoes and Fox Nuts or Lotus Seeds popularly known as Makhana or Phool Makhana. It is quick and easy and suitable for kids’ lunchboxes or tea-time snacks.
Boiled potatoes – ½ cup
Makhana/ lotus seeds – 1 cup
Ghee – 1tsp
Salt to taste
Mint leaves finely chopped – 1tsp
Coriander leaves finely chopped – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Green chilli finely chopped – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – ¼ tsp
Jeera powder – ¼ tsp
Chaat masala – ¼ tsp (optional)
Pinch of garam masala (optional)
Lemon juice – ½ tsp
Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan.
Add makhana and roast it for 8-10 mins until it becomes crunchy, on low flame. Once it’s ready, transfer it into a bowl.
In the same pan take 1tsp oil, cumin seeds, and green chillies and allow it to splutter and then add boiled potatoes along with the spice powders and salt. Let it roast for 2 mins.
Add roasted makhana and mix well.
Finally add coriander leaves, pudina leaves, and lemon juice.
Switch the flame off, make small grape size balls from the mixture, and serve hot with ketchup or chutney.
Makhana Kheer is a dessert that is often made during Mahashivratri, Navratri, and even during fasting. This kheer is similar to other kheers yet extremely delicious and healthy. Makhana kheer is super easy to prepare and a great treat to your taste buds.
Makhana ( Fox Nuts or Phool Makhana) – 4 cups
Milk – 1.5 Ltr
Grated/desiccated coconut – ½ cup
Cardamom powder — 2 tsp
10 -12 cashews or 10 -12 almonds – blanched and sliced
Raisins – 1tbsp
Condensed milk- 400gms (1tin)
A pinch of saffron (optional)
Ghee (clarified butter) – 2-3 tbsp
Take 2 tbsp of ghee in a pan and fry cashews and raisins until it turns golden brown. Keep these aside.
In the same pan, add makhanas and roast until it is crunchy. Keep it aside.
Blend 2/3rd of makhanas in a blender and keep it aside.
Heat milk and stir at intervals and let it come to a boil.
Add makhana powder into the milk and stir it for a minute and then add remaining whole roasted makhana into the mixture.
Add sweetened condensed milk, stir and cook for another 2 mins.
Add cardamom powder and saffron to the milk and keep stirring it for another 2 minutes.
Let it boil for another 8 – 9 mins until makhana softens and milk thickens.
Lastly, add the fried cashews and raisins.
You can serve it hot/warm/chilled as per your choice.
Are you a Kaju Katli Lover? If so then try Makhana Katli /Burfi which is equally delicious and adds variety to your regular sweet fare. Makhana Katli is a simple sweet delicacy that you can prepare within 10 mins.
1. Lotus Seeds (Makhana) – 2 cups
2. Ghee – 2½ tsps
3. Desiccated coconut – ½ cup
4. Sugar – ½ to 1 cup according to taste
5. Water – ½ cup
6. A pinch of green cardamom powder
7. Pista slices for garnish
1. Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan.
2. Add makhana and roast it for 8-10 mins until it becomes crunchy, on low flame. Once it’s ready, transfer it into a bowl and let it cool.
3. Blend roasted makhana in a blender separately into fine powder.
4. Add 1tsps ghee into a pan. Add makhana powder, desiccated coconut and mix on low/medium flame until it is slightly aromatic for 3 mins
5. In a separate pan, add sugar, water, and heat till it turns into a thick syrup.
6. Add the sugar syrup, green cardamom powder into the makhana powder pan and mix well. Cook till the mixture leaves the pan and turns slightly brown.
7. Grease a tray/plate with ghee on all sides. Transfer the mixture and spread it evenly.
8. Sprinkle pista flakes over the burfi and press gently. Makhana katli is ready!
What comes to your mind when you think of superfoods?
Unlike what they sound, superfoods are not artificial foods that impart superhuman strength to people. The origin of the term ‘superfoods’ has no scientific background. It is mainly a marketing term that came to life considering the growing interest of the people in health and wellness.
So what are superfoods? Superfoods are nutrient-rich, natural ingredients that provide greater health benefits over other foods. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients that help the body. In simple words, superfoods offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimum calories.
Due to extensive research on the subject, the list of superfoods keeps changing every year. While most of them rave about western foods such as kale, blueberry, and avocados, there are several lesser-known alternatives that are commonly available in India.
Long before the idea of superfoods hit us, our grandmothers knew exactly what was healthy and beneficial for our health. Several conventional Indian foods have been in use for thousands of years because of their impressive nutritional profile and therapeutic benefits.
Before we take a look at them, let’s understand how including superfoods in our diet can help us.
Benefits of Superfoods
The emergence of chronic diseases has forced us to take a hard look at our dietary patterns. Studies show that along with elevating our overall health, superfoods can protect us against degenerative diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer.
When consumed along with a balanced diet, superfoods improve heart health and promote weight loss. They act against bad bacteria and have antioxidant properties that slow down aging.
Superfoods are also rich in fiber, a nutrient that is lacking in most diets today. Including them in the diet helps reach the daily recommended value of fiber and keeps digestive problems at bay.
Consuming superfoods is a great way to fill the nutritional gap caused by our modern-day busy lifestyle and live through the day with energy and vitality.
5 Commonly Found Indian Superfoods to Include in Your Diet
1. Makhana or Lotus Seeds
Makhanas or lotus seeds, which are the popped seeds of water lily plants, are now gaining popularity for their health and weight-loss benefits. The small puffed balls are low in fat and are rich sources of carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber; a combination that is helpful for weight loss and better digestion.
Makhanas are a great addition to mineral-deficient diets as they carry abundant amounts of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. This comes with a plethora of health benefits such as good heart health, anti-aging, reducing inflammation, diabetes control, relieving infertility, and maintaining healthy kidneys and spleen.
When researchers used crushed fox nuts to substitute all-purpose flour to prepare cookies, they found that the cookies had lower moisture and fat content. Fox Nut flour is a gluten-free and healthier option over refined flour and it’s long term health benefits cannot be overruled.
How to include Makhana in your diet?
Dried Lotus seeds can be soaked overnight and added to soups, salads, curries, and other dishes. For weight loss, replace chips with healthy roasted makhanas as they are low in calories and help satiate hunger pangs.
2. Ghee or Clarified Butter
Wait, ghee? Isn’t ghee supposed to make us fat?
Ghee has been used in Ayurveda for over a thousand years for its therapeutic properties. In the olden days, ghee was predominantly used as a base for administering herbal remedies for various ailments.
Earlier ghee was suspected to be a reason for bad cholesterol and heart problems. But extensive scientific research indicates that moderate consumption of ghee does not show any harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels.
A baffling study on a rural population in India showed a significantly lower prevalence of coronary heart disease in men who consumed higher amounts of ghee. Moreover, the consumption of ghee led to significant improvements in patients with psoriasis symptoms.
These positive research findings support the beneficial effects of ghee outlined in the ancient Ayurvedic texts and makes it worthy of the coveted ‘superfood’ title.
How to include ghee in your diet?
1 or 2 tbsp of ghee is considered a healthy serving for the day. Consuming 1 tbsp ghee on an empty stomach is soothing for the body and helps in cell rejuvenation and healing. Ghee can also be added to your breakfast and meals to reap its benefits.
3. Amla or Gooseberry
Like Ghee, Amla is an old player in the Ayurvedic space. The word Amla is derived from the Sanskrit word “amlaki” which means “the sustainer”.
Amla is used in the two most popular Ayurvedic formulas “Triphala” and “Chyawanprash”. While Triphala detoxifies and nourishes the body, Chyavanprash is known to rejuvenate and strengthen it. Amla is rich in vitamin C and other vital vitamins that are important to our nervous system, immune system, skin, and hair.
An interesting study shows how amla can be beneficial in weight loss. Among two groups of test subjects, one group was served 60 kCals of amla for evening snack and the other group was served sweets of the same calories. It was observed that the subjects who consumed amla ate less food at night as compared to the group that had sweets.
How to include Amla in your diet?
If you don’t mind the sourness, it is best to eat them raw. You can also add amla to fruit salads and cereals so that the taste blends well. Other popular options are sun-dried amla candy, amla juice, amla pickle, and chutney.
The food that is commonly available is also one that is easily sidelined. Coconut is an unsung hero that has been silently saving millions of lives around the world.
An excerpt from NDTV clearly states the connection between coconut oil and heart health. Until the 1980s, despite large amounts of coconut consumption, heart disease rate in Sri Lanka was the lowest in the world i.e. only 1 out of every 10,000 was suffering from a heart condition. Over the past decade, heart disease rates have gone up as coconut oil is replaced by refined vegetable oil.
Besides improving heart health, coconut kills disease-causing bacteria, helps diabetics by slowing down sugar release into the bloodstream and boosts body metabolism. This superfood also carries the potential to prevent strokes and brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
How to include Coconuts in your diet?
Coconut water is a tasty and nutrient-rich alternative over sugary drinks. Try replacing refined sugar with coconut sugar for its health benefits. Coconut milk and virgin coconut oil can be added to curries and sweets. Other options include desiccated coconut (naariyal buraada), coconut chips, and spreads. You would want to consume coconut-based products in moderation to keep the calorie count under control.
If you are looking for a better alternative over quinoa, millets are your best bet. Thanks to the superfood bandwagon, people are now realising the health benefits of these grains that were once called old-fashioned.
Replacing refined flour with millet flour improves the digestive system and keeps one full longer. Sorgham (Jowar), Finger Millet (Ragi) and Pearl Millet (Bajra) are easily available in the supermarkets and are better nutrient sources over rice and wheat.
Millet crops grow in low rainfall regions as they need less water. The crop is completely organic as it doesn’t require pesticides and fertilizers for support. Millets have an excellent shelf life and can be stored for up to two years.
How to include Millets in your diet?
Millet flour is commonly used to make rotis in several parts of the country. When you use refined flour, try replacing 30% of it with millet flour for added health benefits. Millets can also be used to make cereal porridge, idli, dosas, and upma.
Eating a Well Balanced Diet
No single food can provide every single nutrient our body needs in the exact amount needed. So it is best that we eat a combination of healthy foods, all of which balance each other out.
The title ‘superfoods’ may cause some people to excessively focus on a few specific foods, blinding them to other equally nutritious options that aren’t as hyped.
By eating a balanced diet we not only get the essential vitamins and minerals, but also prevent eating too much or too little of a particular nutrient. Importantly, a variety in our diet keeps our meals interesting and flavorful!
Makhana Raita is one of the simplest Indian vegetarian dishes made with roasted makhana (puffed lotus seed/ fox nut) along with curd and some Indian spices.
Makhana Raita can be served with Pulao, Biryani and even Parathas. This is an easy and simple variation to the normal vegetable raita which we have regularly.
1. Curd/Dahi/ Yogurt – 1 cup
2. Phool makhana – ½ cup
3. Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
4. Cumin powder – ¼ tsp
5. Garam masala powder – pinch
6. Black pepper powder – ¼ tsp
7. Chaat masala – ¼ tsp
8. Chopped green chilli – ½ tsp
9. Chopped coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
10. Ghee – 2 tbsp
11. Salt – as per taste
1. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan.
2. Add Makhana and roast it for 8-10 mins until it becomes crunchy, on low flame. Once it’s ready transfer into a bowl and allow it to cool.
3. Take curd and whisk it until it’s smooth and add all the other ingredients (red chilli, chaat masala, salt, green chilli, garam masala, cumin powder, pepper powder, chopped coriander leaves).
4. Refrigerate the mixture without adding Makhanas.
5. Add roasted makhanas 10 mins before serving.
1. Heat 3 tbsp oil/ghee in a pan.
2. Add Makhana and roast it for 8-10 mins until it becomes crunchy, on low flame. Once it’s ready transfer it into a bowl
3. In the same pan add 2tbsp of all the dry fruits(except raisins and pistachios) and roast it until golden brown and aromatic, on low flame.
4. In another pan, dry roast the dried coconut slices until aromatic.
5. Stir all the above, pistachios, raisins along with rock salt, black pepper, amchur powder until the Makhanas are well coated.
6. Serve it once it’s cool. You can store it in an airtight container for future use.
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.