Wikipedia refers to Makhana as Fox nut or Eurale Fox. While a Google told me that it is also referred to as Popped / puffed Lotus Seeds.
Chiraunji was simpler. Google / Wikipedia tell me that the alternate name is Chiroli.
They both are categorized as dry fruits, and are used in Indian dishes. While Chironji is popularly used as garnish to flavor desserts, makhana forms a key ingredient in desserts as well as savoury preparations. Makhana is also used to prepare snacks which can be consumed during religious fasting in Hindu festivals.
Makhana Kheer has always been one of my favourites. As a kid, I remember it being prepared on festivals like Janmashtami or Shivratri.
This year on Janmashtami, we had purchased a large packet of makhanas, and I had made up my mind then to prepare this dessert. It’s simple and I made it richer by adding an assortment of dry fruits which were available.
This recipe is dedicated to my Mom, who gave me the idea for the preparation.
Milk: 750 ml
Makhana (Puffed Lotus seeds / Fox nut), cut in halves: 2 cups
Almonds: 15 – 20, finely chopped
Cashew nuts: 15 – 20, finely chopped
Chironji / Chiraunji / Chiroli: 2 tbsp
Cardamom / Ilaichi powder: 1 tsp
Saffron threads: a few, soaked in 2 tsp of warm milk
Condensed milk: ¼ cup, or Sugar: 3 tbsp (Can be adjusted as per taste)
- Heat milk in a heavy bottomed pan. When it comes to a boil, add the makhana, cashew, almonds and chironji
- Let it cook on low heat, stirring occasionally
- When the milk thickens and reduces to almost half the original quantity, add the condensed milk / sugar, saffron threads and cardamom powder
- Keep stirring till the sugar / condensed milk is mixed completely. Let it cook for another 3 – 4 minutes
- Serve hot or chilled
This recipe goes to FIL – Milk, the event hosted by Sanghi.
This recipe also goes to WYF: Festive Treat Event at Simple Indian Food