Makhana Culinary Use
Makhana Cooking Techniques
Makhana seeds or fox nuts can be cooked in a variety of ways depending on whether you want to make a snack, a curry, a sweet dish or a dessert. There are different cooking techniques that can be used for making numerous dishes from makhana.
Outlined below are some of the ways Makhana can be cooked and served:
Roasting is a method of cooking in which dry heat is used, the food being cooked is covered by hot air and also the food is cooked evenly from all sides. Roasting need a temperature of at least 150 degree Celsius. The source of heat could be an open flame, an oven, of any other source.
Roasted nuts are eaten the world over due to the instant energy they provide and also the health benefits. Nuts are quite easy to roast and does not require too much time and equipment.
Roasted makhana or roasted fox nuts are a favorite snack one can have anytime of the day. Makhana or Gorgon nuts are neutral in taste, hence they can be flavored the way one wants to eat. They can be eaten spicy, mildly flavored and are available in various other flavours.
Smoking is a widely used method of cooking in which, food products are preserved and flavored using exposure to smoke which can be from different sources including wood. Smoky flavored but are high in demand in various countries. Quite a few makhana companies are coming out with different variants of flavored makhana to woo th ever increasing domestic and international markets.
A number of makhana seeds or fox nuts are available in colorful packaging of different sizes which includes popular variants like smokes cheese makhana, smoked caramel makhana, smokes paprika flavours. Interestingly makhana can be used for both savory items as well as sweet snacks.
Baking is yet another method of cooking by dry heat mostly in an oven. There is no direct flame exposure involved in this method. Baked Gorgon nuts or baked makhana is popular with the urban population these days. Increasing helath consciousness has led to younger population moving to baked products instead of deep fried food.
Baked makhana also comes in various flavors to suit the tatste buds of different types of consumers. direct exposure to a flame, typically in an oven. Baked pudina makhana, baked matar makhana rolls, baked makhana cheesy pops, are selling off the shelves like never before. A number of big brands like Too Yumm and Godrej’s Nature Basket in India have introduced a wide range of baked makhanas and are selling through various retail outlets.
Saute method of cooking involves cooking food over a burner in a hot, shallow pan,making use of small amount of oil or fat to coat food for even browning. This method of cooking is fast and should therefore include moving the food product by tossing or flipping. Saute is a French word that translates to “jump”. To achieve great results with ‘sauteing’ one should ensure that the oiled pan is hot before adding any food, don’t overcrowd the pan with too many items, and stir or toss frequently.
Sauteed makhana nuts is another popular option that is being in various households and also by makhana manufacturers to allure consumers. This easy to cook, healthy yet easy snack food item is making it to the tables of consumers of all age groups.
Use of Makhana in Cooking:
Eating and munching on small food items in between meals is a universal habit irrespective of country one lives in. In fact, increasing awareness of healthy food and snacking is a habit more and more people are developing in order to stay fit. The population has now found the ultimate healthy snack item in ‘Makhana’. A galore of makhana snacks are now available in retail market right from local stores, to large format retail stores.
Makhana is also widely used in millions of households, especially by Indians for making different types of curries. These delicious and healthy fox nuts are neutral in taste and hence form an inherent part of main course cooking. The interesting part of using makhana is that it can be powdered, flaked, and used in whole form along with various green vegetables, pulses, and easily cooked to create healthy, tasty and nutritive dishes.
The multi-purpose makhana seeds or Gorgon nuts are used for making various sweet meats and desserts. Traditionally many households in India have been making number of sweet dishes including Makhana kheer, makhana bardi, makhana kalakand, makhana halwa, makhana panjiri. These sweets have also been used as “prasad” after religious ceremonies. Interestingly, these days makhana has been creatively used for western taste buds. These options include caramelized makhanas, chocolate coated makhanas, makhana chocolate cookies to name a few.
General Cooking Tips
Following are the cooking tips that come in handy when using different methods of cooking nuts including makhana.
Nuts should ideally be roasted done in oven or a dry skillet to enhance the flavor. Nuts can be easily toasted in the oven, by laying them in a flat, spreading them evenly on a baking sheet. Set the oven to 325° F (162° C). Place the tray in the center rack for 15-20 mins depending on the how you wish to toast the nuts.
Nuts can also be toasted in microwave ovens, which offer the same feature. It is simple to toast them. Just place nuts on a microwave safe plate and spread them evenly. Check the user manual to see how nuts can be toasted as different microwave brands offer different cooking times. You can keep them for longer duration as per taste.
Nuts can also be easily cooked on cook tops with gas flames. Just take a deep pan to toast nuts on the cooking range, over medium heat. Don’t add any grease or oil. Stir the nuts frequently until fragrant and golden-brown in appearance.
Nuts require different toasting times to bring out their most delicious flavor. Almonds, for instance, require about 10 minutes in the oven. Peanuts, on the other hand, require closer to 20 minutes in the oven. Makhana need 15- 20 minutes for cooking. An individual can choose and ideate with different toasting methods and timing to identify how long they want the nuts toasted.