Makhana (Gorgon or Fox Nuts) Kheer, Milk Pudding
Makhane Ki Kheer
Makhanas or Gorgon Nut or Fox Nut (Euryale ferox) are the seeds of a plant from lilly family, which has purple flowers not dissimilar to lotus flower. This is why they are sometimes confused with and described as puffed lotus seed, which they are not. The plants are cultivated in ponds all over northern India, especially in Bihar. The Makhanas that we use as food are the puffed seeds of Gorgon nut. They can be used for making sweets, savoury 'Namkeen' mixes and desserts as well as for additions to Curries. Roasted Makhanas can be sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and eaten as pop-corns.
This pudding can be cooked in a slow cooker, where you don't have to keep stirring it. See last 4 pictures.
Edited May 2023
100 gm. Makhana
1 tsp. ghee
1 1/2 litre milk
8 tbsp. sugar. Use artificial sweetener for diabetics.
A few strands of saffron and/or 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder(optional)
*A good handful of blanched pistachios and almonds
*Prepare the nuts; soak in boiling hot water for 30 minutes to an hour. The skin should peel off easily now. If it doesn't, give it a quick, 1 minute burst in the microwave oven on full power. Cool and peel.
Place milk in a heavy bottomed karahi or wok or pan. Bring to boil and turn the heat down, allowing it to simmer, until reduced to 2/3rd of original volume roughly. Keep stirring it regularly to stop it from 'catching' at the bottom of the pan. Burnt milk tastes terrible and has to be thrown away! Keep scraping milk that sticks to the side, back into the milk using a spatula. This gives the kheer its 'rabri like' texture.
While the milk is boiling, clean Makhana by removing/cutting off with a knife any black shells or hard skin bits off. These are shells and will never soften, so must be removed. Light brown spots are okay.
Heat 1 tsp. of ghee in a wok or karahi and stir-fry the Makhana on medium heat. You can dry fry them too, without the ghee, if you wish. They will become crisp when cool.
Chop them in a food processor. Do it only in quick bursts, you don't want a complete powder. Some pieces will be fine while others are coarse. Keep aside.
Add all the Makhana, ground and coarse, semolina and saffron to the boiling milk and continue simmering for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Turn the heat off, add cardamom powder, sugar, 3/4th of the almonds and pistachios*.
Transfer to a bowl and Chill.
Sprinkle remaining almonds and pistachios as a garnish.
This milk pudding can be served warm too.
*To blanch nuts, soak them in boiling hot water for half and hour. the skin should peel of easily now. If it doesn't, give it a quick, 1 minute burst in the microwave oven on full power. Cool and peel.
The kheer should be of custard like consistency. Remember that it will thicken a little as it cools. However, if it is too runny and you want to make it thicker, add 2-3 tbsp. ground rice powder dissolved in a little cold water or milk. Boil for 4-5 minutes. You can also use ground rice to thicken a kheer, if you don’t want to condense the milk or want to use skimmed milk.
Tip from Yashodhara; Add 2-3 tablespoons full of dessicated coconut along with makhanas. It adds to the flavour.