Spicy Phool Makhana ( Puffed Lotus Seeds) Namkeen


 

The two recipes for Makhana snacks that I posted earlier were appreciated by many so I am posting another version for Diwali. This has dry fruits and peanuts apart from a few other healthy ingredients. You can either roast the ingredients or lightly toast them in a little ghee. Ghee, as you know, is good for health if eaten in moderation.

This crispy, low fat, low calorie snack is high on nutrition and pairs beautifully with a steaming mug of Chai. You can eat it during fasting days too.  It has a low Glycimic index and is protein rich, high in carbohydrates, gluten free and naturally vegan.

Ingredients :

Makhana or Lotus Seeds  – 2 cups

Ghee – 2 tbsp

Peanuts – 1/4 cup

Raisins – 1/2 cup

Almonds – 1/2 cup

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Curry leaves – 10-12

Chopped green chili – 2 tsp

Dry coconut  slices – 1 few

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp (optional)

Salt ( Either sendha or normal table salt) – As per taste

Chaat masala – As per taste

Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp

Dried fresh mint and methi (fenugreek) leaves – 1/4 tsp

Roasted chana daal – 4 tbsp

Roasted cornflakes – 3-4 tbsp

Rice puffs –  1/4 cup

 

Method –

Heat a pan and add a little ghee. Add makhanas and roast them on low heat till they turn light golden and become crunchy. To test, take one fox nut and press between your fingers, it should crumble. Take them out in a plate.

Add almonds and toast them till they change color. Remove and toast the peanut till slight brown. You can add a little ghee and lightly fry them them too. Remove in a plate.

Lightly roast coconut slices and remove.

Now, add the remaining ghee to the pan. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle, add chopped green chili and curry leaves. Fry them till the moisture evaporates and they become crisp. Turn off the gas.

Add the peanuts, almonds, raisins and stir. Add makhana and stir.  Add salt, chaat masala, black pepper powder to it and mix well.

Take it out in a  bowl and let it cool. Store in an airtight container.

I made one version like this and to the other added roasted cornflakes, rice puffs, roasted chana daal too. ( you need to wash and soak the dal for at least an hour before roasting)

I skipped turmeric in the first variation and only used it for certain ingredients but you should use for the entire mixture.

You can also add roasted cashew nuts and different seeds to it.

Enjoy this healthy gluten free high protein snack with hot tea.

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Meethe Makhane | Jaggery Coated Fox Nuts & A Parfait


Phool makhana are one of my favorites. They are also known as lotus seeds or fox nuts. A versatile  sweet treat that is gluten free, low calorie, vegan and full of healthy nutrients. I have the savory version HERE  and a Kheer HERE.  These are very addictive but you can eat them free from all guilt. Add to vegetable curries, make desserts or munch on the savory snacks and if you have a sweet tooth like I do then make these gur ke makhane or jaggery coated makhana. These popped seeds are good to eat in fasting days too and provide instant energy. You can even give it to toddlers.

Popped Makhana is chewy but once nicely roasted it becomes crisp and nice.

 

One of the quickest snacks you can assemble. I won’t go into details of the benefits the two ingredients provide. Do Google it.

Here is how even a kid can make it in a jiffy.

Ingredients :

Fox Nuts | Makhana – 1 Cup

Organic or Chemical free Jaggery powder or grated Jaggery  – 1/4 Cup

Pure Ghee – 1 tbsp

Water – 1 tbsp

Cardamom | Til | Desiccated coconut – As per your choice ( I have not added anything here)

Steps – 

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan and add the popped Fox Nuts seeds. Roast them on low flame till they become crisp. Make sure to keep the flame low and do a finger test by breaking the makhana between two fingers. If done it will crumble nicely. If it doesn’t then roast a little more. Once roasted, take them out in a plate.

Toast the Til or desiccated coconut in the same pan if using and remove in a plate.

Add the jaggery powder with a tablespoon of water to the same pan and let it melt on low flame. Once the jaggery fully melts turn off the flame and add the roasted makhanas and the other ingredients if using. Stir to mix everything and let it cool in a large plate. Once the coated makhanas are cool enough to touch ( 5 minutes) separate them gently.

Store them in an airtight glass container and munch on these power snacks anytime.

You can caramelize the fox nuts with brown sugar or white sugar too but I prefer jaggery. Here I have used Organic jaggery from Monsoon Harvest Farms that was bought from Farmer Uncle . I mostly buy all my fruits and many of the other staples from them. Do take a look at their website.

The Parfait Story 

Now, I had never used caramelized makhana in a parfait.  Usually I just munch on them but this idea of substituting roasted beaten rice or Poha with fox nuts is by Sangeeta Khanna. I treasure her recipes and often look up for interesting combinations or tricks to make things better.

I make parfaits of all sorts with chilled home cultured curd. Adding, fruits, nuts, ramdana or popped amaranth seeds, roasted Poha or beaten rice flakes but this is by far the most delicious thing. The makhanas are a chewy swollen dumplings inside the smooth chilled home cultured curd. You can check the other Parfaits from the search bar but here is One of the recipes.

This is the first mango of the season. A little sour so it has given a unique flavor  the whole composition. The sweeter the fruit is the better. Eliminates the use of white sugar or any other sweetener. Just perfect for a quick breakfast.

Here’s how I made the Caramelized Fox Nuts and Mango Parfait.

Cube the best ripe mangoes (1-2) and chill. Whip and chill a cup full of homemade curd with a little honey or mango puree. I sometimes use hung curd too.

If you have the caramelized makhanas then you are ready to assemble but if you don’t then quickly caramelize them fist.

Now, take a glass and layer the curd, mango cubes and makhana till you reach the top.

Serve immediately.

I can’t tell you how delightful this tastes. Do try and let us know how it worked for you. You can caramelize a few makhanas in five minutes for this parfait so go for it.

Healthy Snacks – Pan Roasted Spiced Fox Nuts


Fox nuts are highly nutritious and make a wonderful low calorie snack. They are also known as Lotus seeds and Phool Makhana and come from an aquatic plant called Euryale Fox which grows in stagnant waters or ponds in Eastern Asia. In India, makhana is used in many religeous rituals including fasting meals. A variety of dishes are prepared with this versatile puffed seed.

Roasted makhana makes a healthy snack because it’s high in magnesium, iron, zinc and low in sodium content. It has a low glycimic index and is protein rich, high in carbohydrates, gluten free and naturally vegan.

Makhana kheer, gur makhana, masala makhana or spiced makhana are some of my favorite dishes made with fox Nuts. It is also used in curries, soups, raitas and vegetables. You can add them to homemade Granola and nuts & seeds trail mixes.

This pan roasted spiced makhana recipe is easy and doesn’t take much time. You’ll love it’s crunchy texture. The puffed seed has a neutral taste so it takes on the flavors of any combinations of spices.

You can roast a large batch of makhanas and add your favorite spices to a portion whenever you feel like munching on a light snack. You can also add it to your dahi poha like I do. They pair very well in breakfast cereals. So caramelize them and toss a few in your oats, parfaits etc.

Ingredients –

Phool Makhana or puffed Fox Nuts – 100 gm

Red Chilli Powder – to taste

Black pepper powder – to taste

Pink Salt / sendha namak – to taste

Chaat masala – to taste (optional)

Turmeric- if desired a pinch

Ghee – 1 tsp

Dried mint – to taste (optional)

I have mentioned all the spice powders to taste because it all depends on your spice threshold. I prefer them mildly salted and spiced.

Steps – 

Heat a thick bottom pan on medium heat and  add makhanas and roast them on low heat so that they brown evenly and not burn. Be patient with this.

Keep stirring constantly till they become crisp. To test, take one fox nut and press between your fingers, it should crumble.

Now take them out in a plate.

In a bowl mix all the spices.

Heat ghee in the same pan and add the spices and curry leaves if using.  Stir well  and add the roasted fox nuts. Mix well so that all the fox nuts get coated properly. Roast for another minute or two and then take them out in a bowl.

You can serve them warm or let them cool before serving.

Store them in an airtight container for later use.

I used some of it in my breakfast bowl of savory Dahi Chiwada or Dahi Poha ( Beaten rice flakes in home cultured curd)

You can add, remove the spices and make your own variations. Smbhar masala, curry powder, roasted cumin powder,  peri peri powder, dried herbs, Italian seasoning all go well with it.

I used curry leaves and turmeric in one mix and black pepper, rack salt in another.  Different spices give nice aromas and flavors to the fox nuts.

Fox nuts have a good shelf life so they can be stored in air tight containers for future use. I plain roast them and keep it ready to use as desired for both sweet and savory dishes.

You can make puffed rice snack in the same way and add coconut slivers, peanuts, roasted chiwda, cashews, roasted chana, roasted chana daal etc to make an even more healthier snack. Those wanting to lose weight must include makhana in their diet.

 

 

Hope you enjoy munching on these delicious spiced Fox Nuts. I will post the jaggery coated ones in a few days along with the parfait I make.

You can perhaps roast them in air fryer too or in the oven.

Till then eat smart and stay healthy.

Lotus Stem / Kamal Kakdi / Nadru Shami kebab


One of my favorite vegetables is lotus stem / kamal kakdi / bhee or nadru as it is called in Kashmir. Versatile and deliciously crisp and with a lovely pattern inside this rhizome can be used in curries, stir fry, kebabs, koftas, pickles, chips, honey glazed crisps, stews and much more. I have a recipe of Kashmiri Nadru Yakhini that you can try. Lotus stem is also very high in iron, calcium and dietary fibers.

The vegetable loses color very fast when peeled and cut so it is better to keep it in water. It also has a short shelf life so needs to be refrigerated. The tender fresh lotus stem oozes out a milky substance that’s the sign if freshness. Choose the creamy white, unblemished ones.

Nadru kebab or lotus stem kebabs are an exotic starter for the vegetarians. Many people think that vegetarian kebabs are an oxymoron but the vegetarian kebabs are as delicious as their cousins and are light on palate too.   So what if they do not come from the lamb shoulder (Gosht). If made correctly you can not tell the difference between a mutton shammi and a bhee shammi. That’s how delicious they are. It is amazing what all you can do with it.

So, let us get straight to the recipe:

Ingredients – 

Tender fresh Lotus stem – 3-4 small

Boiled Potato – 1 medium size

Ginger – 1 tbsp, finely chopped

Green chilies – 2-3, finely chopped

Fresh coriander leaves – 2 tbsp – finely cjhopped

Ghee – for shallow frying

Cloves – 4-5

Black cardamom – 2

Green cardamom – 3-4

Cinnamon stick – 1 inch

Bay leaves – 2

Black peppercorns –  6-8

Freshly ground pepper – 1/4 tsp

Kashmiri red chili powder – to taste

Garam masala powder – 1/4 tsp

Chaat masala – 1/4 tsp

Roasted cumin powder – 1/4 tsp

Salt – to taste

Clove, nutmeg and mace powder 2-3 pinches

Fennel powder – 1/4 tsp

Onion -1 medium

Bread crumbs or Popped amaranth seeds – for coating (optional)

Sattu / roasted chana dal power – 2-3 tbsp or as required.

Steps :

Choose the lotus stem that is sealed from both end to avoid dirt inside. Prefer the tender ones as they will be less fibrous and easy to cook.

Wash, peel and cut the lotus stem in 2 inch cubes. In a pressure cooker add the cubes with all the whole spices and just enough water to cook. ( The bhee should be submerged). Give it 2-3 whistles. It should break easily but still be firm.

Meanwhile thinly slice the onions and fry them in a little ghee till they are crisp. It should be done on low flame to ensure even browning. Take them out and make a paste of these crisp onions on a silbatta or roughly grind. This is optional and you can add finely chopped raw onion to the mix or avoid it too. Browning of onion gives the kababs a nice taste.  1-2 tbsp of this paste is enough.

Drain the water and whole spices, cool and grate the lotus stem. Also grate/ mash the boiled potato.  Grating the lotus stem helps it retain the meat like texture.

In a large bowl, add the grated lotus stem, potato, green chili, chopped ginger, coriander greens,  onion ( chopped or browned paste) all the powdered spices, salt, sattu and mix properly. Adjust the spice threshold and the salt at this point.

Make walnut size balls and flatten them to make shammi kababs. Roll them on bread crumbs or crushed cornflakes or popped ramdana as I did. You can omit this step too. The coating makes the kebabs crisp.

Heat a non stick taw or  frying pan and add some ghee to it for shallow frying the kababs. Keep the flame to medium so that the kebabs get cooked properly from inside too.

Place one kabab to test that it retains the shape, if it does add a few more but DO NOT crowd the tawa as the ghee temperature will lower and the kebabs won’t fry properly.

If the kabab breaks, add a little more binding to the mixture.

Once the kababs turn nice  brown from one side, flip and let it brown from the other side as well.

Take them out on absorbent paper to remove excess ghee.

Serve these delicious nadru shami kababs with mint coriander green chutney, onion rings and lemon quarters.

Note :

Use ghee, it is the game changer. No compromise on this.

I usually add soaked chana dal to the  lotus stem while boiling and grind it on sil batta instead of using gram flour ( besan) or sattu. If you wish to make it with chana dal, soak 1/2 cup chana dal for 2-3 hours and then add to the lotus stem and whole spices while you pressure cook.  Once cooked, take it out and grind. You can also roast the dry dal and grind to a coarse powder and add. I like the taste of sattu but omit if using chana daal.

Onion is optional too. The kababs taste awesome without it too.

Some people blend the lotus stem mixture to a fine paste for kababs but I prefer them to be a little meaty. Grating is a better option in my opinion.

I don’t add too much potato, just enough to help in binding.

If you make these do let me know your experience.

bon appetit


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Indian Twist to Tex -Mex Tortilla Chips


 

Usually Tortilla chips are made from corn tortillas and the main dish made from them is Nachos loaded with cheese, sour cream and salsa but I gave it a twist to this famous snack. These chapati chips are prepared from whole wheat and gram flour. Instead or cheese and salsa I served them with freshly made raw grated mango takku. A delightful tangy sweet relish. You can eat them with your favorite dip or have them the traditional way with fresh salsa and sour cream. Hung curd dip pairs well with it.

Ingredients :

  • Leftover Chapatis – 3-4
  • Salt and Pepper – to sprinkle over the chips
  • Chaat masala – To sprinkle (optional)
  • Oil – For Frying. (About 3/4 cup)
  • Your favorite dip | salsa | cheese or sour cream

 

Steps :

  1. Make some whole wheat and gram flour (besan) chapatis beforehand if you plan to make these tortilla chips. If you make fresh ones then dry them for a oil for crisp frying.
  2. Cut the chapatis into 5-8 triangle shaped wedges.
  3. Heat oil for frying in a medium size dry skillet.
  4. Once the oil is heated to medium high heat slip the tortilla triangles in a single layer into the oil.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to keep the chips in single layer so they don’t overlap and are covered in oil completely.
  6. Fry them for 2 minutes or until the chips are slightly brown in color and firm and no longer pliable.
  7. Place paper towels in a plate and remove the chips to paper towel lined plate.
  8. Keep the oil hot by adjusting the heat as we will use less oil.
  9. In a serving place heap the crisps tortillas and sprinkle salt and pepper. You can use chat masala too. I use it only when there is no topping.
  10. Serve the chapati chips hot as nachos with your favorite toppings or with raw grated mango takku / green mint chutney / guacamole any other dip or sauce you like.

 

My Tip: When kneading the dough for these chips you can either use just the whole wheat flour or mix gram flour with it like I did. The proportion I keep is 2:1 You can also use mix grain flour to make them healthier. Instead of frying you can bake them in the oven at 180 degrees for 6-8 minutes . Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper when you line them in baking tray. Do not overlap. Bake till brown and crisp. I also add finely chop green chili and coriander leaves and ajwain ( carom seeds) to the flour before making a dough sometimes. You can be as innovative as you wish. Personally I do not like cheese with these chapati chips. It overwhelms the basic rustic flavor of the chips.

 

Bar n Grill …some more fun


This post is in continuation from the previous one on drinks. Loaded with some scrupulous recipes and tit bits about drinking… so relax ,make yourself your favourite drink and read on …

* DARK HORSE

Dark Rum-60ml

Cranberry juice -90ml

Orange juice -90ml

Dash of fresh lime juice

Fill a tall glass with ice.Pour orange juice ,lime juice .top it up with cranberry juice .gently float dark rum on top …

(to float rum put a tea-spoon with its back side  on top of glass n pour rum slowly on it)

Garnish with slice of pine-apple or sweet lime

***************

* CLASSIC GREEN

Creme DE mint -30ml

vodka-60ml

In a tall glass pour the two ingredients one after another .top up with sprite and sprinkle lots of ice on it

***********

* BANG BANG

Vodka -20ml

tequila-20ml

rum-20ml

whiskey-20ml

bailey’s -20ml

put all the ingredients in a shooter glass or test tube. top it up with Bailey’s .

Taken in one shot as a shooter

**************

*serve chilled .

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Having a hangover after a night of revelry ..have a shot of campari straight ..it will kill the hangover or even a shot of dark rum would do the same .

To keep the margarita more frothy ,put 20ml of pine-apple juice ..it will give it nice taste froth n body

USE LEFTOVER ROTIS OR PITS BREAD TO MAKE SPICY SNAKES ..CUT THEM INTO TRIANGLES and deep fry them ..put lots of chat masala or any spicy garnish ..and they taste better than nachos ..

*************

some very popular dishes to go with your drinks

* Amritsari Fish Fry

Surmai(or kingfish ) fillets. Wash and dry.
Blend in 3 to 4 tblsp of Besan, 3 tablespoon of Yoghurt, 2 tblsp lime juice, 1 tsp Ajwain, 1 and 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp haldi, Salt to taste. 1 tblsp ginger-garlic paste. Blend it a smooth paste. Apply to the fillets and leave it for an hour or so. Saute fry . Serve with lemon and onion rings. Tastes yummy.

***

* BATATA BOMBS WITH SPICY CHUTNEY

Makes 2 bombs.

Ingredients

2 large potatoes, boiled and peeled
1 tablespoon butter

For the paneer filling

1/2 cup grated paneer
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1 green chilli, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon black salt (sanchal)
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste

For the topping

serve with green chutney

For the paneer filling

1. Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds and asafoetida.

2. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the green chilli, paneer, black salt, salt and mix well.

3. Add the coriander and mint and mix well. Keep aside.

How to proceed

1. Cool the potatoes completely. Cut each into 2 equal parts and scoop out the centres leaving an empty shell.

2. Fill in the paneer mixture and sauté the potatoes in butter till the outside is lightly browned.

3. Place each half on a serving plate and top with green chutney.

4. Serve immediately.

********

* Pepper Chicken

pepper chicken

chicken breast-1kg
curd -400grms
ginger freshly ground= 5 table spoons (not ready-made paste}
garlic freshly ground-3tbl spoons
peppercorns -freshly ground (coarse)-4-5 tblspoons
salt-to taste
butter -to sauté

method

wash chicken breasts and make slashes in each one.
mix all the ingredients and rub into the chicken.let it marinate overnight or at least 6hrs
take a pan heat it and melt butter. arrange 2-3 pieces of chicken and let them sizzle …pour the marination on to each one so that the whole thing is used

on slow heat make them brown from both sides and check if that are done …
take out on kitchen napkin and then serve hot with mint chutney.

*********

*BREAD PIZZA

bread pizza this is very good …at least my kids love it

bread (brown or white)
tomato ketchup
cheese
any seasonal veggies like capsicum ,tomato , onion,mushroom,anything
oregano seasoning or pepper salt
butter

take a slice of bread apply a little butter .spread tomato ketchup .add finely chopped veggies.add grated cheese ..sprinkle seasoning or pepper .heat oven .grill for some time till slice is toasted and cheese melts .
let it cool a little .pack.
you can make it in a pan also, for that take toasted bread

*********

SOME MORE AWESOME DRINKS

* pure sin  (shatbhi basu’s recipe)

Ingredients:
crushed ice
45ml Irish whiskey
15ml Irish crème liqueur
2 tbsp cream
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
1 tbsp frozen raspberries
2 tbsp frozen strawberries

chocolate stick & a sprig of mint
large margaritaMethod:
Put 1 scoop of crushed ice in a blender.
Add all the ingredients and blend till smooth.
Pour it into the glass. Garnish & serve.

SHOOTERS
SOME OF OUR OWN
trickytiks
Gin-20ml
vodka-20ml
rum(Bacardi)-20ml
shaken together with dash of lime and sugar syrup.taken as a shot . 😀
Blow job
Tequila-20ml
vodka-20ml
rum(Bacardi)-20ml
gin-20ml
topped with whip cream
pour all ingredients in a shooter glass .top up with whipped cream .
watch out for more … 😀