Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Makhana Kheer / Foxnut Pudding

Makhana Kheer is a classic delectable Indian dessert made by cooking Makhana(s) in milk till it reaches creamy consistency. Makhana is also known by other names like "Lotus seeds" or "Foxnuts".

This lip-smacking dessert is quite easy to prepare without taking much of your time. The best part about this recipe is you can have it in you fasts also. I always make in it Navrtri fasts as it is not only tasty but contains many essential nutrients also. Earlier I had shared the recipe for Saffron Sama Rice Kheer or Barnyard Millet pudding which you can see by clicking here.

Makhana or Foxnuts are rich source of calcium, iron, antioxidants, natural flavonoids which prevent ageing and fibre etc. They are also considered as a great snack especially if you are trying to lose weight as they make you feel full for longer time. Some more Makhana recipes were shared in earlier posts which you can checkout below:

In this Makhana Kheer recipe I have used full-fat milk. You can even use toned milk if you wish. Apart from almonds, cashews & raisins, I have added "Chironji" which gives a nice crunch to the pudding. Chironji is an Indian spice which has a nice nutty taste. It is harvested from tree called "Buchanania Lanzan" and has number of health benefits. It is a natural coolant, improves digestion & overall skin health. You can add it in other recipes of kheer or halwa. The cardamom powder gives a nice soothing aroma to the dessert overall. The quantity of sugar can be varied as per your own taste or preference.

Whenever it comes to serving, I generally prefer clay earthenware bowls ("kulhar" in hindi) as they not only look really elegant but give an earthy aroma to the kheer. These Kulhars can be used to serve tea, yoghurt & many other Indian desserts like kulfi, rabdi and mishti doi etc.

Hope you would like this delicious and creamy Makhana Kheer recipe!!

List of Ingredients: (Makes 3-4 servings)

  • Makhana (Foxnut)-1 cup
  • Ghee-1 tbsp
  • Milk- 500 ml  (preferably full fat)
  • Sugar-1/4 cup
  • Almonds- 5 to 6
  • Raisins- 8 to 10
  • Cashews- 4 to 6
  • Cardamom powder-1/4 tsp
  • Chironji (or Charoli)- 1/4 tsp

For garnishing:
  • Almonds- 4 to 5
  • Rose petals- 8 to 10 (optional)

Steps to Prepare:

Split the makhana or foxnuts into 2 pieces. In a heavy bottom or a non stick pan, heat ghee and roast these split makhana in it for 2-3 minutes till they become sighlty golden in colour & become crunchy. Keep these roasted makhana aside.

In the same pan, heat half litre (500 ml) of milk & bring it to boil. I have used full-fat milk here as it imparts more creamy flavour to the kheer. If you wish, you can use toned milk also. By the time milk is boiling you can proceed to next step.

Chop the cashews & almonds in small pieces. Keep these aside.

Also, if you are using whole cardamom you can powder it either in your blender or mortar-pestle. I generally prefer mortar-pestle for smaller quantities of spices as it gives more aroma than already packed powdered spices. Such mortar-pestle sets are easily available on Amazon these days & you can check its other specifications by clicking here.

Once the milk comes to boil, slow down the flame. Add the roasted makhanas we kept aside in step1 along with raisins, chironji & chopped almonds, cashews. Let it cook for 20-25 minutes on low-medium flame. Keep stirring in between while scrapping the mixture from sides & bottom.

When the pudding/kheer is almost ready, add cardamom powder & sugar. Let it cook for 2 more minutes till sugar dissolves completely & then switch off the flame.

Transfer the kheer into a serving bowl & garnish it with some more chopped almonds and rose petals. You can serve it hot but I generally like to chill it in fridge for an hour or so before serving.

Enjoy this delicious creamy kheer with makhans, nuts & beautiful rich aroma from cardamom. For more Makhana (Foxnuts) recipes, click here.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Homemade Healthy Granola

Granola is a popular breakfast food or snack which mainly consists of a mixture of rolled oats, nuts, dried fruits and seeds; sweetened using maple syrup, brown sugar or honey. People often buy it from market assuming that it is difficult to make or you need to collect lots of ingredients for making it. However, after reading this post you will be pleasantly amazed how easily & quickly it can be prepared at home with the common ingredients available in your pantry.

I personally prefer homemade granola over the ones you get on store shelves as it gives you a scope of customizing it as per your taste and choice of components. It is not only cost efficient but also saves you from added preservatives/chemicals which are generally present in the granola boxes sold in market.

Each serving of granola is somewhere between 1/3-1/4 cup depending on the dietary requirements. By adding all healthy ingredients in correct proportions, you can be sure that with each serving you are getting a part of you daily dose of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants etc. Generally people find it difficult to make nuts & seeds a part of their daily diet. With this effortless homemade granola recipe you can easily make them part of your breakfast or evening snack.

When it comes to choice of flavours, my all time favourite is chocolate. In this granola recipe I have used Cadbury brand Unsweetened Cocoa powder, which gives a slight flavour of chocolate to granola without making it too sweet along with brown sugar. Little bit of cinnamon powder has also been added to give it a sweet aroma. As oil or butter is generally added in granola we have replaced it with a healthy fat in form of peanut butter. Different type of nuts (almonds,walnuts, pecans etc.) & seeds (flax, sunflower, pumpkin etc) can be used in making this granola. I have mentioned the details below in the recipe but you are free to replace them with your preference without disturbing the proportions drastically. If you don't have brown sugar you can use white sugar also, however brown sugar gives a distinct rustic aroma to granola because of which I would recommend it.

Granola can be served or eaten in many ways but as a matter of rule it is always served cold. You can have it with milk, yoghurt & fruit bowl, fruit salad, smoothies or can directly munch a fistful of it. I like to have it with my fruit bowl on regular basis in breakfast. My husband is although not very fond of oats, even he eats them this way without complaining.

Serving Suggestion: Fruit Bowl with Granola

You can also prepare parfait using this granola. I had earlier shared a recipe of Yoghurt & Fruit Parfait recipe using muesli. You can replace muesli with granola in this preparation. Recipes like these helps us to sneak these nutritious things in our kids diet.

Serving Suggestion: Granola Yoghurt Parfait

Granola can also be packed as a healthy snack in kids tiffin. Another delicious whole oats recipe which I have shared earlier is "Fruits & Nut Chocolate Oats Bar". Do check it out!! Hope you would like this crunchy healthy granola recipe!! 

List of Ingredients:

  • Rolled Oats- 2 cups
  • Chopped Nuts (Almonds/Walnuts)-1/2 cup
  • Mixed Seeds (Flax/Sunflower/Melon/Pumpkin)-1/4 cup
  • Chia Seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Brown Sugar-1/2 cup
  • Peanut Butter- 1 & 1/2 tbsp
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder-1/4 cup
  • Cinnamon powder-1/2 tsp
I have used Quaker brand Whole Oats. You can check out its price & other specification by clicking on this Amazon product link.
Whole Oats

Steps to Prepare:

Dry roast the rolled oats in a non stick pan. The oats need to be roasted on low-medium flame till they start releasing their nutty aroma & become slightly golden in colour. Keep these roasted oats aside.

In the same pan, dry roast the chopped nuts on low flame. I have used only almonds here but you can use other nuts also like walnuts, peanuts or cashews as per your taste. Mix these roasted nuts with oats and keep them aside.

In this step we are going to roast mixed seeds. Below I have used flax seeds & sunflower seeds. You can add more seed like melon, pumpkin or sesame. The seeds are roasted on low flame for just 1-2 minutes till they slightly puff up; then mixed with nuts & oats above.

Also, Add chia seeds to the above mixture. Stir well & keep these aside.

In the same non stick pan, add brown sugar. Heat it on low flame till it melts completely & become liquid.
In this melted sugar, stir in some peanut butter. Mix well.

Add the oats, nuts & seeds mixture in it while it is hot. Gently stir it with spatula so that all particles are coated with this caramelized sugar.

Sprinkle cocoa & Cinnamon over it. I use a sieve for sprinkling part as cocoa gets evenly dusted on the entire mixture. Mix it gently. When the mixture cools down enough so that you can touch it, you can even use hands to mix the granola & break some of the clumps into smaller pieces.
Enjoy this delicious granola with a serving of yoghurt or fruits or have it as it is as snack!!
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