lotus seeds

What is Lotus Seeds, Makhana? Glossary, Uses, Benefits, Recipes Viewed 83015 times

Also Known As
Lotus nuts, Makhana.

What is Lotus Seeds, Makhana?

Makhana, also called as lotus seeds or Fox nuts, are one of the highest selling dry snack these days in India. They serve as a healthy substitute to popcorn, not only because of their crunchy texture but also due to the health benefits they offer. These seeds roasted in 1-2 teaspoon of olive oil are loved by one and all. Lotus develops straight seed pods and each pod contains approximately 20 seeds that reach maturity within 40 days. Lotus seeds are nut like round to oval shaped seeds present in row within the dark green colored lotus seed head. They are green colored when fresh and turn cream to yellow color when dried. The shell becomes harder as much that it can be removed as a coating. The dried form is better available in markets comparatively. The seeds are extensively used in East Asian cuisine and as a medicine in China.

How to Select Lotus Seeds, Makhana
Lotus seeds are not very commonly seen in Indian markets. They are available more in areas having lotus plantations. The dried ones are sold in packages in bulk and need to be soaked overnight before consumption, due to its hard textured shell. The two commercially available dried seeds are varied in color of the peel.

The Brown colored peel seeds are harvested when the seed head is fully ripe. The seeds shell must be cracked in to two halves in order to remove the bitter tasting germ. This is done at the time of harvesting.

The White peel seeds are harvested when the seed head is green and immature; but the seeds inside have ripened. Here the bitter tasting germ is removed using a hollow needle at the time of harvesting, though it may sometimes remain intact.

The Fresh Lotus seeds are green colored and sold intact with the rubbery dark green circular lotus seed coat. These can be eaten by breaking the individual seed out from the cone shaped head.

You can also buy the Crystallized lotus seeds. These are prepared by cooking the dried seeds in sugar syrup. These are consumed as a snack in itself by people in China.


Culinary uses of Lotus Seeds, Makhana

Yes, lotus seeds do make a healthy snack. You can roast your makahanas and then add some chilli powder and chaat masala to give a masala makhana recipe. Even better is to roast the makhana and add some herbs to make herbed makhana recipe which is a healthy tiffin box option for your kids in school or for you to take to work. 

Yes, the makahnas work well in Indian desserts. Rich in protein and calcium, makhana or fox-nut combines beautifully with low-fat milk to make a creamy and delicious kheer. A lacing of nutmeg powder and saffron lends an aesthetic touch to the low calorie Makhane ki Kheer recipe, making this a memorable dessert that lingers on your taste buds. We also have the tasty full fat version of makhane ki kheer recipe for you.



· Lotus seeds can be eaten raw either in fresh or in dried form.
· The most common use of the seed is in the form of lotus seed paste, which is used extensively in Chinese pastries.
· The paste is also used in Japanese cuisine, as an ingredient in cakes and other dessert items as a filling.
· You can try making sauces from its paste.
· A combination of red bean and lotus seed soup can be made by boiling them together for 1 ½ hours until both become tender and then adding sugar to taste.
· The seeds can be cooked in syrup and allowed to cool to obtain crystallized seeds. These can be had during teatime instead of nuts.
· Try making Cream Lotus seed soup by boiling lotus seeds with crushed pineapple and adding corn starch to thicken the puree.

How to Store Lotus Seeds, Makhana
Lotus seeds are easy to store in their dried form. These can be packaged in plastic containers and store in a cool dry place. Tighten the lid when not in use. The fresh seeds can be kept in zip lock bags under refrigeration and maintain its freshness for more than a week. But it is recommended to use them at the earliest.

Let’s look into the incredible nutrient profile it carries along with the health benefits it reaps.

Nutritive Information for Makhana (Lotus seeds):
1 Cup of Makhana is about 25 grams
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.

Energy – 83 calories
Protein – 3.9 g
Carbohydrate –16.1 g
Fat – 0.5 g

Vitamins:
0.15 mg of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) = 9.8% of RDA ( (about 1.2 to 1.6 mg for men)
0.05 mg of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) = 2.6 of RDA (about 1.4 to 1.9 mg for men)
0.4 mg of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) = 3.3 % of RDA (about 12 mg)
51 mcg of Folate (Vitamin B9) = 51 of RDA (about 100 mcg)

Minerals:
40.7 mg of Calcium = 4% of RDA (about 1000 mg)
0.87 mg of Iron = 4.4% of RDA (about 20 mg)
52.5 mg of Magnesium = 15% of RDA (about 350 mg)
156.5 mg of Phosphorus = 26% of RDA (about 600 mg)
342 mg of Potassium = 7.3% of RDA (about 4700 g)
0.28 mg of Zinc = 2.3% of RDA (about 10 to 12 mg)

5 Health Benefits of Makhana
1. Excellent Source of Protein : Vegetarians often rely on paneer or soya as key source of protein. But those who wish to bank on protein from plant sources can also turn towards makhana. A cup of dry roasted makhana has around 3.9 g of protein, which is good enough to help build muscle mass and promote cell growth.

2. Gluten Safe Foods : Like many other seeds, lotus seeds are also gluten free and can safely be added to gluten intolerance diet.

Click here to know more about the 5 Health Benefits of Makhana.

Glycemic Index of Lotus Seeds, Makhana
Makhana has a low Glycemic Index. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. Foods rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods that are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss and diabetics. Foods like Makhana have a low GI and hence don't spike your glucose level as they are absorbed slowly. Great for weight loss and for those with high blood pressure.

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