Makhana (Lotus Seed) Curry

Frankly, I was not aware of makhana till I came to Delhi about 37 years ago. It is not an ingredient that is used in South Indian cuisine. I am a member of a FB group called ‘Recipes of Palakkad – A Vegetarian World’. I have been a member for several years and have not come across even a single recipe with this ingredient.
I hosted a vegan potluck in my home a few years ago. One of the participants had brought over a dish with makhana as the main ingredient. Till then, I had only seen makhana prepared as a dry snack. I fell in love with the dish (sadly, being the host, I only got to taste it – not eat to my heart’s content), It was then that I resolved to prepare this dish at some point of time. The time finally arrived a few years later.
I don’t know the recipe of the dish that the participant brought. This particular recipe is inspired by – a vegan website.

Makhana Curry

2 cups lotus seeds (makhana, thamarai vithai)
1 cup green peas (mattar, pachai pattani)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 heaped tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp coriander powder (dhania powder, kothamalli podi)
1 tsp garam masala
1 dried red chili (adjust according to taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi powder, manjal podi)
1 cup tomato puree (I just put the tomatoes into the blender and crush them)
1/4 cup dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi, ularntha venthiya keerai)
1/3 cup cashew nuts
Salt to taste
2 tbsp coriander leaves, to garnish
Heat a wok and roast the makhana, stirring continuously
They must turn crisp and golden brown – but not blacken
Set aside
Make a paste of the cashew nuts with one cup of water
Set aside
Heat a wok and add the onions
Sauté till they turn translucent, sprinkling a little water if necessary
Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a few seconds
Add the spice powders and sauté for 30 seconds more
Add the tomato puree and mix well
Cook till the puree begins to darken
Add makhana, green peas and dried fenugreek leaves
Mix well and add a cup of water
Once the curry comes to boil, add the cashew paste and salt
Adjust consistency by adding water, if necessary
Remove from flame and garnish with coriander leaves
Serve hot with red/brown rice or Indian flat breads

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