Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Malai Makhana Curry...story of a fox and fox nut

The sole purpose of the trip to Corbett was so that hubz could sightseeing, no shopping, no restaurant hopping...just lazing aroundafter 3 days of doing that, we decided to take the mandatory morning jungle safariso we asked the hotel to arrange for the permit and off we went at 6 in the morning in an open jeep to go see some wildlifewe knew we would not get to see a tigerwe have been on a few safaris and have never seen onethey have always been spotted a couple of days before us or after us but never ever when we have been aroundbut to not get to see the mandatory deer, spotted deer, barking deer, elephants (yes, we have been lucky with elephants) and all the fancy birds was a bit of a disappointmentall we did see was a solitary vulture and 2 monkeyswhich we anyway see on a weekly basis around where we liveon our way back to the hotel, suddenly our driver started honking and what he initially thought was a dog turned out to be a fox J this baby ran with us for a good five – six kilometers before finally disappearing back into the junglewe came back to our hotel happy and excited and promptly went back to sleep!!

And now onto the recipe of Malai Makhana Curry and the reason I am talking about foxesMakhanas are also known as Lotus seeds or Fox nutsThis is the last one from the Corbett bit after Kurkuri Bhindi  and Bharwaan Aloowe normally munch on these, just roasted with a little oil or butter and sprinkled with spicesone of our guilt free favorite snacks and with an amazingly long shelf lifebut just like all the other good things in life,these taste even better deep fried, which is how the chef had made them as wellbut since these literally guzzle up the oil by the gallon, I decided to make this curry using roasted makhanas and a relatively thin gravy so that they could guzzle up on the gravy instead of the oilwhich means I could use a huge amount of cream instead!!

Malai Makhana Curry


  • Makhana /Lotus Seeds/Puffed Fox nuts, 3 Cups 
  • Green Peas, 1 Cup
  • Oil, 1 tbsp

For the gravy:

  • Bay Leaf, 1
  • Cinnamon, 1 inch
  • Cloves,3
  • Green Cardamom, 2
  • Black peppercorns, 8
  • Onions, chopped,2 medium
  • Tomato puree, 5 tbsp
  • Ginger, paste, ½ tsp
  • Garlic, paste,1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Coriander powder ,1 tsp
  • Kashmiri Red chili powder, 1 tsp ( gives a lovely red colour without any heat)
  • Fresh Cream, ½ cup
  • Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Water, enough to get a thin consistency gravy


Dry roast makhanas in a non stick pan over low heat with constantly stirring. 

When makhanas start going crunchy pour a tablespoon of oil all over them and continue to stir till they start changing colour to pale golden brown. Remove from heat and keep aside.

Boil green peas and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and then add bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns. Sauté till they start to crackle. 

Add onions and fry till light golden brown. 

Add ginger/garlic paste and sauté well. 

Add tomato, tomato puree and all the spice powders. Sauté till oil separates and then take it off heat. 

Blend the mix to a smooth fine paste (use water if necessary) and strain it back into the pan. 

If you don’t want the heat of the whole spices, pls. fish them out before blending the paste. I didn't want to add red chili powder so I left the whole spices in. If you want to add red chili powder, don’t add the peppercorns or reduce the quantity.

Add water to the strained mix and let it come to a boil. 

Add green peas and makhanas. 

Let the gravy simmer well on low heat so that the makhanas get a chance to soak up the gravy and go soft. Add the cream, mix well and cook for another couple of minutes.

Serve hot with any Indian bread of your choice.


  • You can avoid the cream by adding milk instead of water to the gravy.

  • Mushrooms and Paneer also work well with the Makhanas.

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