Fox nuts, lotus seeds or gorgon nuts is an aquatic crop popularly also known as Makhana in India. Offered as Prasad and commonly associated with fasting, these seeds grow on the leafy surface of a pond or in stagnant areas from where they are collected, washed, dried and roasted at high flame and then hit firmly so that white puffs can pop out from black shells. An enormous chunk of ninety percent of the world's makhana comes from the state of Bihar in India.
Replete with almost every type of nutrition, makhana has myriad health benefits. Whether you consume it as a standalone snack or add it in your diet, a handful of these seeds provide energy that lasts almost an entire day, thus making makhana inevitable during nine days of Navratri fasting. Low calorie and fulfilling, they are a boon to people suffering from wheat allergies as they are gluten-free. People with weak kidneys can also consume makhanas as they are bestowed with astringent properties.
Nutritional Value Of This Gluten Free Food
When it comes to nutritional content, makhana beats every dry fruit on earth. Extremely rich in calcium, protein, ascorbic acid, thiamine and other essential minerals, this little kernel has sixteen types of amino acids present in it. 100 grams of makhana contains 350 calories from which about 315 calories come from carbohydrates and 35 calories from protein. They also contain significant amounts of magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Besides, an abundance of antioxidants such as gallic acid, chlorogenic acid as well as epicatechin in these nuts reap great anti-ageing benefits.
A nerve soother, consumption of makhana helps the body to produce acetylcholine contributing to the process of neurotransmission and good functioning of the nerves. In ayurveda, makhana has been used as an antidote to beat insomnia. Few fox nuts and dates soaked in water, blended in a mixer along with a glass of milk, made into a smoothie and consumed before bedtime aids the quality of sleep tremendously.
Here are two sumptuous recipes made of this superfood that you can try which will keep you satiated for the whole day.
Makhana Matar Curry
3 cups makhana
3 spoon oil
1 cup green peas
2 cup tomatoes chopped
1 cup cashew
1 spoon ginger chopped
1 spoon oil
1/2 spoon cumin seeds
1 spoon sugar
1/4 spoon garam masala
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 spoon red chilli powder
Salt and asafoetida as per taste
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium heat
Add makhanas and roast them until they are crisp
Keep them aside
Blend tomatoes, cashews and ginger to make a paste
Heat oil in a pan and add asafoetida and cumin seeds
When cumin seeds crack add tomato paste, coriander, chilli powder, salt and sugar
Stir-fry until the oil begins to separate from the mixture
Add roasted makhanas and green peas, mix it well and add about 2 cups of water
Cover the pan and let it cook on low heat, until peas are tender
Turn off the heat, add garam masala and cilantro and mix it well
Serve makhana matar curry with paratha, poori or with rice
Makhana are laden with proteins and fibre and micronutrients. Besides this, green peas constitute a large part of this gravy dish. Peas are low in calories and rich in fibre. They contain no cholesterol and are packed with protein.
2 cups makhana
1 spoon ghee
1 spoon jaggery powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Roast makhanas on slow flame till they turn crispy
Add them in a mixer, make a powder and keep aside
Now dry roast almonds and cool them
Add in the mixer to make a fine powder
At this point again add fox seeds along with the almond powder, jaggery and cardamom powder in the mixer
To make halwa, heat little ghee, sauté 1 cup powder on slow flame for about a minute
Add a little cup of water and let it bubble till it's soaked well
Cook it till you get the halwa consistency you want
Garnish with raisins and serve hot
Besides makhana as a main ingredient, ghee and dry fruits are key ingredients of this recipe. Ghee has butyric acid, which has anti-cancer constituent and anti-inflammatory properties. Raisins are full of calcium and almonds have essential nutrients and high protein. The powdered fox nuts can be stored in an airtight container and used whenever needed.
Go ahead! You can’t resist bingeing on to the curried peas makhana dish mouth watering halwa, both loaded with nutritional benefits.