This Roasted Makhana or fox nuts is healthy, crispy, flavorful, and addictive. Make it easily in your oven or air fryer, for a quick and easy munchie.
Guilt-free snacking at its best! It is crispy, crunchy, bite-sized, and spicy with numerous health benefits. Try this roasted makhana for movie time with your family, instead of reaching for a bag of microwave popcorn.
What is Makhana? Also known as phool makhana, Fox nuts, lotus seeds, or Gorgon nuts, they are edible dried seeds of water lily plants. You can find more details here.
Euryale ferox is a perennial plant native to Asia, often found in northeast India and China, especially in the state of Bihar which produces 90% of the world's supply.
The seeds, which grow on the leaf in a pond or in stagnant water, are collected, washed, and then sun-dried. They are then roasted in a pan at high flame and then pounded immediately so that the black shells are broken and the white puff pops out.
Euryale ferox seeds are often fried or roasted in large earthen pots, which causes them to pop like popcorn. They are usually found sold peeled and white in color.
It is an excellent source of several important nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. They are low in calories, filling, and satisfying. In India, it is generally during fasting or vrat, and also used to make dessert recipes like kheer or porridge.
Why this recipe works?
Makhana is usually slow-roasted on the stovetop, stirring constantly for several minutes to crisp them up. I share a super easy method of roasting them in the oven or air fryer - Hands-free!
Although I have shared seasoning suggestions, you can toss them with any of your favorite spice combinations that your heart desires. Increase, decrease, or omit salt altogether, or make it sweet!
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Makhana - You can buy the seeds in Indian grocery stores or on Amazon.
- Oil - I like to vegetables, olive oil, melted coconut oil, or ghee.
- Seasonings - I like to use basic Indian seasonings like turmeric powder, cayenne pepper powder, salt, and chaat masala, like in these baked pita chips.
Tip: Don't use melted butter! Butter is made up of fat, milk solids, and water. That moisture which will make your roasted makhana soggy after a day or two. So, it's best to use pure fat like ghee or your favorite oil.
There are endless possibilities to season these little seeds. Here are a few ideas:
- Oil - Use melted coconut oil, ghee, olive oil or vegetable oil.
- Basic - Simple sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Italian - Black pepper, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and salt.
- Mexican - Use homemade taco seasoning.
- Mint - Finely crushed dried mint leaves, lemon salt and black pepper.
- Salt and vinegar - Use salt and vinegar powder.
- Sour cream and onion - Use store bought sour cream and onion seasoning powder.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1 & 2. Toss phool makhana with oil, salt and spices until evenly combined.
3. Transfer them to a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 300-degree oven and bake for about 13 to 14 minutes or crisp.
Pro tip: How do you know if your makhana is done roasting? Raw seeds are soft, chewy, and hard to chew. Perfectly roasted seeds are crunchy to bite and should not stick to your teeth. Try tasting one as soon as you remove it from the oven or air fryer. If it is not crunchy all the way through then try roasting or air frying for an additional minute or two.
Finish - Transfer back into the bowl and toss some oil and chaat masala for a lip-smacking taste.
Air frying instructions
- Toss makahna with oil and spices.
- Preheat the air fryer to 300 degrees.
- When hot, transfer the seasoned makhana into the basket and air fry for about 4 minutes until crisp.
- Transfer roasted makhana back into the bowl and toss some oil and chaat masala.
How to store?
Let roasted makhana cool completely to room temperature and then store in an airtight container or zip lock bag (away from any moisture) for up to 2 weeks. Any slight moisture will soften them.
- Larger batch - Double the oven roasted makhana recipe to make a larger batch. (If air frying, then make sure to cook in batches).
- Air Fryer used - The seeds pop in the basket when cooking, so it would be better to not over crowd. I used Instant vortex 6 quart air fryer which was perfect for cooking 2 cups.
- Seasoning - Switch up the spice blend to make it your own.
- Don't use butter for roasting - The moisture in butter might soften them after a day or two.
Storing it even when slightly warm might make it lose its crispness. Let cool completely for a few hours and then store in a tightly sealed air tight container or zip lock bag.
Absolutely. Nevertheless, without any grease, the seasonings cannot adhere to the surface of the popped seeds. Makahana inherently lacks flavor and thus depends on added flavorings to attain a delicious taste.
It has a very mild, delicate, and almost bland taste, in its original form. The appeal of makhana lies in its ability to absorb flavors well and can be seasoned with various spices or sweeteners.
More spicy snacks
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- 2 cup phool makhana fox nuts
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon oil divided
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt use according to taste
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder red chili powder,
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala optional
- Pre heat oven to 300°F (148°C) OR your air fryer (same temperature).
- Add fox nuts or phool makhana, 1 tablespoon oil, salt, cayenne or red chili powder and turmeric powder into a large bowl and mix well with a spoon until evenly combined. (save the bowl for later use)
- Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 13 to 14 minutes or becomes crisp. (To cook in air fryer - transfer combined nuts into the hot air fryer basket and cook for about 4 minutes or crisp).Tip - Try tasting one as soon as it comes out of the oven or air fryer. It should be crunchy and not stick to your teeth. If not, bake for an additional 2 minutes or air fry for one minute.
- Transfer hot nuts back into the bowl, toss with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and chaat masala (if using). The oil helps chaat masala stick to the seeds.
- Serve as soon as they cooled down completely or store in an air tight container for a few days
Nutritional information is based on third party calculations, should be considered estimates and not be construed as a guarantee. Varying factors such as product types, brands purchased, produce, the way ingredients are processed and more change the nutritional information in any recipe.
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