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Delicious Makhana Curry - Indian Style - Microwave Version

Umesh is a freelance writer contributing his creative writings on varied subjects in various knowledge and educational sites in internet.

Introduction

Makhana (also known as Talmakhana or Phoolmakhana or Lotus Seeds or Fox Nuts) is a very nutritious food item providing protein and fibres and is consumed in various ways like sweet puddings or fried snacks or dry vegetables or vegetable curries. In India, it is easily available and is eaten by people in a variety of dishes. This is also consumed during the fasting days as well as during the festival times.

Makhana is actually a type of seed derived from the plant known as Euryale Ferox. It is also used in various forms in traditional medicines. Makhana is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus which are very useful for our body in strengthening the bones, reducing blood pressure, improving nerve functions etc. Makhana also contains some antioxidants like gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and epicatechin which play a crucial role in keeping the body healthy.

Microwave cooking - basics

We have prepared this dish using a microwave oven. However, it can be made using the conventional heating mode also like keeping a pan on the stove. Before we use a microwave for preparing this dish it would be a good idea to know about the fundamentals of microwave cooking so that we can use the microwave in the correct way and our dish is not spoilt.

Microwave cooking is different from conventional cooking in many ways and one of the main differences is that in microwave cooking the amount of water and time of cooking are the two main factors that we have to keep in mind.

Microwave ovens generally have four heat ranges for cooking - 'very high', 'high', 'low', and 'very low'. For making vegetables we generally use very high or high options though personally, I prefer to use 'high' setting as it is safer and convenient and helps in avoiding or delaying the accidental charring of the dish in case the water amount added is less than the required amount.

From that aspect, the preparation of dry vegetables is slightly more difficult than curries as curries generally will have sufficient water for cooking and drying up or charing of the dish phenomenon would not take place.

One caution that we have to take in microwave cooking is that in the end phase of the cooking that is just 3-4 minutes before the end time we must stop and open the microwave oven and check the dish for consistency. In case we find that it is drying up and there are chances of it getting charred or burnt then we must put some water at that point in time. It is not a difficult thing to learn because with experience this becomes a routine type of thing.

In general, dry vegetables or curries take about 13 to 16 minutes in getting prepared in microwave cooking.

Ingredients

The following quantity of the ingredients is sufficient for 2-3 persons when taken during the main meals along with other food items and the quantity of ingredients can be increased or decreased depending upon the number of persons.

  • Makhana - 1 cup.
  • Onion - 2 Nos.
  • Garlic - 6 cloves.
  • Tomato - 3 Nos.
  • Green coriander leaves (chopped) - 1/2 cup.
  • Gram flour/wheat floor - 2 tsp.
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp.
  • Cumin seed - 1/2 tsp.
  • Anise (fennel) seeds - 1/2 tsp.
  • Black pepper whole - 1/2 tsp.
  • Black pepper powder - 1/4 tsp.
  • Mango powder - 1 to 2 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (optional).
  • Cooking oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Cloves - 2 to 3 Nos.
  • Big cardamom - 1 No.
  • Star anise - 3 to 4 petals.
  • Cream - 1 tbsp.
  • Tomato sauce - 1 tbsp.
  • Sugar - 1 tsp (optional).
  • Salt - to taste.

Mango Powder

Preparation

Peel the onions and also peel the garlic cloves and chop them and keep them aside. Crush 1/4 cup of Makhana in smaller pieces and keep separately. Split the big cardamom and take out the seeds and keep the seeds and peeling on one side. Break the cloves into smaller pieces and keep with the big cardamom parts. Chop the tomatoes and keep them separately.

Method

Take a microwave bowl preferably a glass one and pour the cooking oil in it. Add chopped onion, garlic, crushed Makhana, green coriander leaves, and gramflour or wheat flour to it. Now add remaining Makhana, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, whole black pepper, black pepper powder, red chilli powder (optional), broken cloves, broken big cardamom, star anise petals, and salt to taste. Mix all the items with a spoon or spatula. Now keep the bowl in the microwave and cook it in the 1st or 2nd heat range for about 3 to 4 minutes. Take the bowl out. By this time the onion, garlic, and various spices will start giving their yummy smells.

Now add chopped tomatoes, mango powder, cream, tomato sauce, sugar (optional), and also add about 2 to 3 cups of water and put back the bowl in the microwave and cook for 9 to 12 minutes. Do not forget to add this water as that is a critical element in microwave cooking. Please note that when we are preparing a dry vegetable this amount of water is significantly reduced from 2-3 cups to only 1/2 or 1 cup of water.

Remove the bowl from the microwave and now the dish is ready. At this stage, if one feels that the curry is appearing thicker then the required consistency then just add half a cup of water and cook it in the same heat range for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Dish is ready

Dish is ready

Serving

The curry is generally taken with bread or boiled rice or dry oats etc. The above quantity will yield about 6 servings. It can be served in small bowls or can be directly poured on the rice preparation or sugarless puddings etc.

Variations

  • In microwave, we can cook vegetables without adding oil also and that is one main advantage of the microwave for health point of view. So, the calorie conscious people can definitely avoid oil in this recipe if they like that variation.
  • For thickening the curry further, one can add 1 or 2 mashed boiled potato in the curry.

Nutritional information

Based on the individual calorific values of the ingredients, one serving of this curry is about 65 calories and if the dish is prepared without oil then it would be only around 45 calories.

A few Makhana snack recipes

References

  • https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/9-health-benefits-of-makhanas-the-desi-snack-thats-making-a-comeback-1439156%3famp=1&akamai-rum=off
  • https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/www.healthifyme.com/blog/5-reasons-to-snack-on-makhanas/%3famp
  • https://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-food-calorie-counter

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Umesh Chandra Bhatt

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