Makhane ki sabzi is a simple and delicious curry made with roasted makhana in a cashew-tomato curry base. It is a nice change from regular vegetable or lentil curries in everyday cooking and also fancy enough for special occasion cooking!
A few days ago, on my once-in-two-weeks supermarket run under the present lockdown regulations, I found makhana packets (fox nuts) in the dry fruits section and I quickly picked up two big ones. Makhanas make an easy and healthy snack for times when most of us pick up a packet of bhujiya or crisps. Now that I have plenty at home, I make roasted makhanas almost every other day with evening tea/coffee.
Last Sunday, I wanted to cook something different and not the regular vegetable curries or lentils. With a big jar of makhana in the pantry, I didn’t need to think much before deciding on making this makhane ki sabzi recipe. While I have made makhana sabzi a few times before, it isn’t a commonly cooked dish in our home. My father-in-law actually had it for the first time and he was pleasantly surprised at how light the curry felt.
Makhana, called fox nut in English, is puffed lotus seed. Since it comes from lotus, in Hindi we also call it phool makhana. It is highly nutritious and a good source of protein, calcium, and many minerals. Health benefits include better digestion, weight management, good for people suffering with diabetes, and also good for during and post-pregnancy nutrition. Read about health benefits of makhane/foxnuts in detail here.
In this phool makhana sabzi recipe, I have used coconut oil for roasting to keep it vegan but traditionally ghee (clarified butter) is used.
Makhane ki Sabzi | Phool Makhana Curry | Fox nut Curry
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 2 cups Makhane fox nuts
- 1 tbsp Coconut oil or use ghee
- 1 tbsp vegetable cooking oil I used sunflower oil
- 20 Cashews soaked in warm water for ~1 hour
- 6 medium Tomatoes chopped (~2 cups)
- 1 Green chili chopped
- 1 inch Ginger peeled and grated
- 2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 pinch Asafoetida
- 2 tsp Coriander powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 2 tsp Kasoori methi dried fenugreek leaves
- ½ tsp Kashmiri red chili powder mild
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 2-3 sprigs Fresh Coriander for garnish
- Drain the soaked cashews. In a blender or mixer, blend tomatoes, cashews, and green chili to a purée. Keep aside.
- Put a wide kadhai (wok) on medium heat and add coconut oil. When the oil melts, add the makhane and mix to coat them in the oil. Continue roasting the fox nuts at low to medium heat with occasional stirring. Roast until slight brown tinge just starts to come on the makhane. An easy way to test if they are done is by pressing one between your thumb and finger; if it makes a crispy, crackling sound, they are done.
- While the fox nuts are roasting, heat vegetable oil in another wok. When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
- Next add grated ginger, turmeric, coriander powder, and crushed kasoori methi in the oil. Mix well and cook for a minute.
- Add the tomato purée, mix well and cook the gravy on medium heat until the tomatoes are cooked. Takes about 10 minutes. Stir the masala occasionally to ensure even cooking.
- When the tomatoes are cooked, add a cup of water, salt, and garam masala to the gravy and bring to a boil.
- Add the roasted makhana, cover and cook the curry on low heat for another 3-4 minutes so that all the spices can seep into the makhana.
- Nutritional Information is the approximate information for 1 of 4 servings.
- If you are making the curry well in advance, keep the roasted makhanas and the curry separate. Add the makhanas to the curry and boil together just before serving.
With no onions and no garlic, makhane ki sabzi is also a popular recipe during the Navratri festival in India when many Hindu families cook without onions and garlic. Other popular Navratri dishes are sabudana khichdi, sabudana vada, makhana kheer, and peanut laddus.
If I had posted this recipe before, it would have definitely been part of the list of recipes that use little or no fresh vegetables — ideal for quarantine cooking!
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I wonder if Makhana is just an Indian ingredient? I have not seen it being used in any other cuisine… do you know?
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Looks fantastic! Can anything be substituted for fox nuts? I’ve never seen them in our stores.
Melissa, that’s the key ingredient of this curry.. but the same tomato-cashew curry can be used with other vegetables also like potato, cottage cheese or tofu, pumpkin, etc.