Lotus are sacred to many cultures (see some beautiful photos here), and many use the seeds in their kitchen. Phook Makhana (lotus seeds) are cooked in a spinach gravy, much like the way that Palak Paneer is cooked.
This is quite an interesting dish. The phool makhana adds texture to the dish but not a lot of individual taste – similar to the way that paneer adds texture but little taste to Palak Paneer.
It is said that there are many health benefits to Lotus Seeds.
The lotus seed is sacred to Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity, and brings material and spiritual abundance. It calms the mind and subdues restless thoughts and dreams. Lotus seeds help open the heart chakra and are good for devotion and aspiration. It is also said that they improve speech, help stop stuttering and improve concentration.
Lotus seeds benefit the spleen, kidney, and heart. The seed also has calming properties that alleviate restlessness, palpitations, and insomnia. It is rich in calcium.
The puffed lotus seed has the bitter centre core removed and the outer membrane, and is puffed, just as popcorn is puffed.
Palak Makhana | Puffed Lotus Seeds in Spinach Gravy
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
1 bunch spinach
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup Phool Makhana (puffed lotus seeds)
1 tspn Cumin
1 tspn Garam Masala
0.5 tspn chilli powder
1 Cinnamon stick
0.5 tspn Turmeric
0.25 cup Milk
1 Tblspn Ghee
Salt to taste
Roughly chop the spinach and rinse it carefully in a bowl of water. Place into a saucepan with the turmeric. The water left on the spinach will be sufficient for cooking it. Cover and cook until the spinach is wilted and almost cooked. Using the immersion blender, blend until semi smooth.
In a pan, toast the phool makhana in a pan with a little ghee until lightly brown (you can toast them in a dry pan if you prefer). Remove and keep aside.
In the same pan with the remaining ghee, toast the cumin until brown. Add the onions and cook until transparent.
Add the tomatoes and cook until they lose most of their liquid. Then add the spices – the turmeric, garam masala, Cinnamon stick, chilli powder and salt to taste – and the water. Mix and allow to simmer for 1 – 2 minutes.
Add the spinach and the milk and simmer for another 3 minutes. Add the toasted Phool Makhana to the spinach gravy. Bring to the boil, simmer for a moment, remove from heat and serve.
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