Makhana (Gorgon Nuts Or Fox Nuts), Almonds and Melon Seed Savoury Snack
Badam, Makhana aur Kharbooje ke Beej ki Namkeen
This highly nutritious snack is made for breast feeding mothers in Uttar-Pradesh, but is good to eat with tea and other drinks too. It is very simple to make. This is a good snack for Hindu fast too, just use Sendha namak (a type of Indian rock salt), instead of normal sea salt.
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, a bit like popcorn.
1 cup makhana (Phool Makhanas) or puffed Gorgon seeds
1/2 cup almonds or almonds
1 cup white melon seeds, shelled. You could use a mix of white, honey dew type and water melon seeds.
2-3 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
2 tbsp. raisins (optional)
Salt to taste
Ground Black Pepper to taste
Clean makhanas. They sometimes have a few tiny pieces of hard shells still attached to them. Remove them by hand. Brown spots are okay.
Heat a wok or karahi and dry fry them until they become very light pink. They are white in their raw state. Remove and keep aside.
In the same pan, dry fry the melon seeds until light pink. Keep covered with a lid while frying, they splutter a lot. Take out and keep aside.
Now heat ghee in the same karahi and fry almonds or cashew nuts. You can dry fry the almonds/cashew, if you prefer.
When cool, mix everything in a bowl and toss to coat well with spices.
Makhanas, almonds and melon seeds can be dry roasted in a microwave too. Makhana; 2 minutes on full power. Almonds/Cashew Nuts; 2 minutes on full power, stir and 2 more minutes on full power. Melon seeds; (covered) 2 minutes on full power, stir and 2 more minutes on full power.
You can chilli powder or garlic powder or chat masala too, but not when making for nursing mothers.
Tempering with carom seeds is sometimes done, because carom seeds are good for digestion.
Tempering (tarka) with mustard seeds, a few curry leaves and broken up dry, red chilli is also nice.