What is Makhana?
Makhana, also called fox nuts, is a nut variety from the aquatic plant “Prickly water lily”. This variation of the lily is abundant in Southern and Eastern Asia. Makhana bhel is one of the Chat delicacies from the Northern part of India, especially from the states Bihar, parts of West Bengal, Tripura, and Assam. Another interesting fact is, Bihar is the largest cultivator of Makhana nuts contributing to 90% of the exports worldwide. Makhana is considered a healthy alternative to popcorns, due to their crunchy texture and increased health benefits.
The prickly water lily is also known as the Euryale fox and grows in the stagnant water bodies. The benefits of the plant are etched 300o years back in Chinese medicine and the Ayurvedic medications in India.
The complete bowl of health, taste and goodness
Makhana bhel or makhana chat is abundant with various health benefits, consisting of the goodness of protein and fibre. It is also a whole packed bag of diverse minerals like potassium, iron and zinc. It provides great results in anti-ageing, keeps blood pressure in control, low in cholesterol. Makhana is gluten-free and soy-free too! This is one of the highest nutritional evening snacks.
Some of the evident benefits from this healthy recipe are, it possesses abundant antioxidant and thus, helps with preventing inflammation. It also brims with folate bio compound that acts as a key nutrient for pregnant women during their first trimester. It helps with the brain development of the foetus.
Not only these seeds but also the floral part of the plant, the “Phool makhana” is an edible part. It is the main ingredient of the “fasting” dish prepared during the festival of Navratri in India.
Variations in bhel other than makhana bhel
Street foods of Mumbai and Delhi throng with various chat delicacies and bhel varieties top the list! It takes various forms and names like, when we add crispy puri, it is our evergreen bhel puri. It then branches out to sweet, savoury or mixed, according to the sauces we add. Another snack that comes from the streets of West Bengal is the Jhal muri bhel. Do not forget to visit our recipe of Jhal muri here!
Jhal muri bhel– A bhel variety prepared by adding puffed rice as a main ingredient to the bhel puri.
Also, our bhel puri takes different names based on the ingredients added or the sauces used, like;
The Chinese bhel- Addition of boiled noodles to the bhel masala.
Popcorn bhel- We have popcorn as the main ingredient of the chat.
Murmura bhel- Accompanies roasted peanuts and murmura puffed rice.
Now let us have a quick look at the making of our Makhana bhel!
Relish these other desi snacks from our cookbooks!
Salted peanuts– A healthy snack, of roasted peanuts seasoned with salt.
Channa chilli recipe– Another healthy snack of tossed chickpea (channa) in a spicy and delicious curry.
Crispy bread cones– A delicious evening delicacy made of white bread and potato. A super great substitute for kachori and samosas.
The super-quick makhana bhel recipe!
Preparing the bhel is all about adding the makhana with various chutneys like tamarind and coriander mint. Thus firstly, prepare the tamarind chutney and the mint chutney from scratch. In a pan, add ghee and roast the makhana till they turn crispy and keep them aside. Secondly, take a bowl. To that, add chopped tomatoes, onions and raw mangoes. Then add chilli powder, chaat masala and salt with green chillies. Give a mix. Then finally add the tamarind chutney and mint chutney with the roasted makhanas and bhujiya sev. Bring them together and let them blend with the chutneys. Serve them with your favourite toppings.
Pro tips to note for makhana bhel
- While roasting Makhana in ghee, ensure the flame or the heat is pretty low to avoid the burning of makhanas.
- Stop frying the makhana when it attains the crispy consistency.
- When you lack the readily available tamarind chutney, here is the recipe: Add the tamarind pulp along with salt, red chilli powder and jaggery to boiling water. Mix everything and add a pinch of dry ginger powder to elevate the taste. Thicken the gravy to a saucy consistency and let it cool. Then store the chutney.
Serving the makhana bhel
- Various toppings and seasoning options adorn a bowl of the makhana bhel recipe. You can improvise on the snack by adding pomegranate beads, top the dish with a little amount of sweet or mint chutney, and a slice of lemon would do that too.
- You can also go with the dahi recipe by adding the makhana in thick curd with powdered sugar. Later, you can proceed with adding the bhel ingredients.
Watch our video on making makhana bhel!
Here’s the printable version of the recipe!
Makhana bhel (Makhana chat)
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- 2 cups Makhana Fox nuts
- 1 cup Onion 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
- 1 cup Tomatoes 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
- 1 cup Potato 1 large potato, boiled and chopped
- 4 tbsp Raw mango Finely chopped
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Green chilli Finely chopped
- 2 tsp Lime juice
- 1 tsp Chilli powder
- 2 tsp Chat masala
- 2 tbsp Tamarind chutney Imli
- Coriander leaves a handful, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Peanuts Roasted
- 1/4 cup Bhujiya Sev
- In a pan, add 1 tbsp of Ghee.
- Then add the makhanas and roast them, till they turn crispy. Do not leave them at a high flame.
- In a bowl, add 1 cup of finely chopped onion and a cup of chopped tomatoes.
- To this, add a cup of boiled potato and 4 tbsp of raw mango.
- Add 1 tsp of salt.
- Then add 1 finely chopped green chilly along with 2 tsp of lime juice.
- Then add 1 tsp chilli powder and 2 tsp of chat masala.
- Add 2 tbsp of tamarind chutney and a handful of chopped coriander leaves, followed by 1/4th cup of roasted peanuts.
- Mix all the ingredients well.
- Finally, add the roasted makhana along with 1/4 cup of bhujiya sev.
- Blend all the ingredients to come together. Serve them with the toppings of your choice and relish your healthy evening snack!
Step by step making of makhana bhel with pictures
- To start with the recipe of makhana bhel, take a pan and add 1 tbsp of ghee.
- In that, add 2 cups of Makhana and roast till they turn crispy. Keep them aside.
- Take a bowl. In that add a cup of finely chopped onion and a cup of tomatoes.
- Add a cup of boiled potato along with 4 tbsp of chopped raw mango.
- Then add 1 tsp of salt.
- Put 1 finely chopped green chilly along with 2 tsp of lime juice, 1 tsp chilli powder and 2 tsp of chat masala.
- Then add 2 tbsp of tamarind chutney and a handful of chopped coriander leaves with 1/4th cup of peanuts.
- Mix all the ingredients well.
- Finally, add the roasted makhana with 1/4th cup of bhujiya sev.
- Bring all the ingredients together and serve the makhana bhel with the toppings of your choice.