About This Recipe
Makhana or foxnuts grow abundantly in the wetlands of Darbhanga, Bihar. These protein-rich seeds of the prickly waterlily make for a tasty snack. As a faraal food, makhana recipes are popular during the Navaratri, Ekadashi, and Mahashivaratri upvas (fasting) in north India. Makhana kheer is perhaps the most famous iteration. It’s easy to make, tasty, and nutritious.
A great low-calorie snack, makhanas are rich in calcium, magnesium, and iron, needed to maintain bone strength and hemoglobin levels in the body. This along with milk makes it a delightful, slightly sweet dish, best enjoyed at night, as milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan, that helps promote a healthy sleep cycle.
Note: The recipe calls for powdered cardamom. If you do not have a spice mill, here’s a tip: Grind the cardamom with a tablespoon of sugar. The added volume will help grind the pods to a fine powder.
4 Servings Yield
- 1 Tbsp ghee
- 1½ cups (35 g or 1.13 oz) makhana (foxnuts)
- 2 Tbsp cashews, roughly chopped
- 500 ml (17 oz) milk
- 3 Tbsp (40 g) unprocessed sugar such as coconut sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 4-5 saffron strands
- 4-5 pistachios, cut into slivers (optional)
Step 1Heat the ghee in a large kadahi or skillet. Add the makhana and roast over medium heat until crispy and crunchy; it takes about 5 to 7 minutes. To check if the makhana is ready, pick one, give it a moment to cool down enough to handle, and either crush it between your fingers or pop it in the mouth; if it’s as crunchy as a cheeseball, you can turn off the heat.
Step 2Transfer the roasted makhana to a large bowl. Give it 5 minutes to cool down, then grind the foxnuts to a fine powder. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your grinding jar.
Step 3In the same skillet you roasted the foxnuts, toast the cashews for 2 minutes on medium heat until golden and fragrant.
Step 4In a heavy-bottom medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the sugar, cardamom powder, and toasted cashews. Continue to cook for two minutes or until the sugar dissolves, while stirring continuously to prevent the milk from boiling over.
Step 5Add the ground makhana in three parts, stirring well each time to avoid any lumps. Continue to cook over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, constantly whisking as the kheer thickens (you can cook for an additional five minutes if you prefer a more set consistency). Turn off the heat, stir in the saffron strands, cover, and let the kheer stand for 5 minutes. Pour into bowls, garnish with pistachio slivers and some whole foxnuts, and serve warm. Save any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for a day.