Make Way with Makhana - A Nutritious ingredient to count on for quality contribution into our diet,
A Nutritious ingredient to count on for quality contribution
into our diet, also called Fox Nut]
By: Dr. Kaviraj Khialani- Celebrity Master Chef
A wonder food with multi-faceted adaptable qualities & one of my favourite ingredient to work with since years has been Makhana! my very experience with it reminds me of how it is so important to add the right amount of spice, salt and to turn it into a wonderful recipe is a sense of achievement.
Besides being a very humble ingredient it is also getting popular these days to add to our diets for various benefits and quality assistance in menu planning as well.
Also known as lotus seeds, they are not only used to help us in Ayurveda purposes but also to help us devise new concepts with what else can be done in order to create an awareness of its best so that more and more people include it into their menus often and relish its uniqueness to have a win-win situation.
Its history goes back many years when it was being cultivated in various north-western parts of our country. The lotus plant grows best in hot-dry air conditions and also in dry summers and chilly winters, the seeds of the plant are collected in late summer seasons. Euryale ferox is the classical name attached to it while it simple beans fox nuts as well. The seeds of this plant are sticky and fragile and have been found used in Indian cuisine in many recipes and states offering their own twist of taste into the Makhana from salad to soups, to being roasted and also into sweet dishes & porridge too…
Health Benefits of Makhana:
It is a bundle of goodness and is one of those ingredients which is easy to adapt into various courses of our meal and with a little moderation and balance it has various positive benefits for our system as well.
It is believed to be a good source of various nutrients like water, calcium, magnesium, thiamine, potassium which actually reduces the risk of a heart stroke and hypertension.
Makhana is also low in cholesterol levels along with saturated fats and even sodium which is good for our body, since it helps to flush out and detox our system as well. It is also high in fiber which helps us keep our digestive tract clear and helps prevent constipation.
It is also considered good for reducing blood sugar levels if consumed in moderation and also helps in weight management, improves our metabolism and most importantly is a gluten free ingredient which can increase its adaptability in our kitchens.
Culinary Uses of Makhana:
Makhana is a versatile textured commodity and easy to get its way into international cuisines, sharing a few of my tried and tested options for us to get some inputs and ideas to inculcate into our menus and offer our guests a varied choice.
· From the classic styles of dry roasting them and tossing them up in spices, to serving them crunchy like an all-day quite bite munch snack.
· Using Makhana in fried form also has worked in many ways, from garnishing your freshly tossed salads to getting them on the side with your piping hot soups works well too, I even tried doing different flavors like garlic, mixed herbs, pepper and all spice as too!
· It is also a good choice to find its place on a chaat counter, can be easily included as a Makhana chaat as a part of live stations at buffets with a twist in their chutneys and using various elements of other cuisines like a schezuan chutney, peanut butter sauce, bbq sauce etc which can really elevate the dish to the level next.
· A cheesy baked Makhana delight with baked beans, assorted mushrooms and some fresh spinach puree a dash of fresh herbs and a touch of spice is just wonderful.
· Filipino style tossed prawn and coconut salad with Makhana and slivered almonds is a nice option on a warm summer afternoon.
· Indo- Chinese fusion Makhana fried rice, or crunchy spiced Makhana being served along with a pungent Hot – n- Sour Soup with Tofu or Paneer/ boiled chicken etc and spring onions is a great cup to sip on all year round.
· Being a gluten free ingredient Makhana flour dumplings, add it to your favorite paratha or chapatti dough, adding it to your sooji ka upma or also into your batter for cheela with besan or rava as well tastes good.
· Makhana for me has also been awesome in desserts, from the regular Makhana kheer to innovating it with baked Makhana pudding with berries and white chocolate, to adding it into a sweet Chinese style filling of date pancakes, in a caramel sauce with crushed nuts and Nutella onto pancakes, fox nut & mango- saffron cheesecake, vegan style Makhana rabdi with fruity malpuas, cheesy Makhana soya kofta curry in an indo-mexican salsa sauce with methi tortillas is one option too!
· Crunchy toasted Makhana with a drizzle of olive oil and herbs tossed into a cool penne pesto pasta along with shavings of parmesan cheese and olives is a burst of flavors and textures as well.
Here are couple of my recipes with Makhana the super ingredient to adapt and accept:
Recipe- 1] Dilkhush Makhane Ka Tadkewala Raita
Makhana- 30 – 50 gms, lightly dry toasted.
Curd- 250 ml, beaten up.
salt/black salt/pink salt- ¼ tsp
sugar/honey- optional- ½ tsp
fresh pomegranate seeds- ¼ cup
sliced black/green olives- 2 tbsp.
roasted crushed cumin powder-1/2 tsp
assorted seasonal fruits of your choice may also be added if desired- strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, custard apple, chickoo etc.
for the tempering:
olive oil- 1 tbsp
curry leaves-4 to 5 nos
lemon grass- 2 tbsp
mustard seeds -1/2 tsp
chili flakes- ¼ tsp
chopped parsley- 1 tsp
1. prepare all the ingredients for the raita.
2. in a mixing bowl combine all ingredients with the bean curd adjust seasonings to taste, add fruits.
3. add the Makhana just before serving the raita.
4. immediately temper the raita on top as listed above and serve.
(good to serve with assorted parathas, missi roti, theplas etc]
Recipe -2: Makhane ka Meetha
[ an interesting twist on incorporating Makhana into a fusion dessert with coconut, dates and nuts, served warm]
Makhana- 50 gms, tossed in 2 tbsp. ghee/oil for a few mins.
Milk/soy milk- 750 ml
Date puree- ¼ cup –adjust as per taste
Brown sugar- 2 tsp – adjust as per taste
Green cardamom powder- ¼ tsp
Assorted nuts- cashews/raisins/almonds/ walnuts- ¼ cup mix sliced.
Coconut malai – tender coconut- ½ cup- 3/4th cup sliced
Chocolate chips- 2 to 3 tbsp.
Sliced glazed cherries- 2 tbsp.
Praline made with peanuts/ desiccated coconut- can be used for garnish as well.
1. prepare all the ingredients for the dessert.
2. lightly toss the Makhana in the ghee for few mins on low flame and remove them.
3. in the same container add the milk, date puree, brown sugar and allow to simmer for 1 mins, keep stirring constantly, add little grated mava as well if desired.
4. add in the Makhana, cardamom powder and stir.
5. cook on a low flame for 10 to 12 mins.
6. add a few nuts inside and mix well.
7. cool down and add in the tender coconut slices and a few chocolate chips as well.
8. pour the mixture into glasses or bowls for chilling in the fridge.
9. garnish as listed and serve the dessert chilled, a spoon full of chilled rabdi on the top will be mind-blowing too!
Brief about the writer:
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani, Celebrity Master Chef is a Mumbai based Food and Hospitality Consultant, an Author, Food Columnist, Writer & Food Designer and is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines.
Besides having worked with some of the reputed brands like the Taj Group and Kuwait Airways he is also a winner of various national and global awards for his excellence in the field of culinary arts & hospitality education.
Chef Kaviraj has also been featured on various foods shows on Star Plus & Colors Television as well, a keen learner and willingness to share his knowledge & inputs on various platforms, enhancing quality education via his expertise & experience of over 21 plus years is one of his passion as well.
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