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“Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story. Because hers is where yours begin.”~M. Albom
“I prepared ‘Panjiri’ today with fresh gond & Makhane. ‘M’ got it for me from Jaisalmer” told mom during our telephonic conversation the other day.
“Awee…I already miss your gond ke ladoo and Palak Makhane ki subji , big time. Okay, mom, I have got to go now” I said and disconnected the line, stuffing my washing machine with soiled clothes.
Two days later, I received a parcel from mom. I hurriedly removed the brown paper and saw a beautiful set of peach coloured hand-embroidered pillow covers inside. There were a few neatly packed zip-lock bags of fluffy Makhane (fox nuts), translucent Gond (edible gum) crystals and some exotic dry fruits in it.
Moms will always be moms!
Hmm…I started dreaming about Palak Makhane ki subji (curry)…with a never ending to-do list on hand.
Well, spinach (palak) was missing in my pantry and I had to wait for some days before I could actually cook and gorge on my Makhane curry.
Nevertheless I roasted a few Makhane (fox-nuts) and enjoyed the quick snacks.
Mom uses powdered Makhane for thickening her gravies and desserts.These Makhane or fox nuts make a wonderful snack when dry roasted on a pan.
Like many others mom also follows the same method of cooking or steaming spinach, by boiling it in water, draining and then grinding the spinach to make puree.
Somehow, I never liked cooking my greens directly in boiling water which I feel may drain out the most important water-soluble vitamins from it. I normally steam my greens in pressure cooker.
Steaming is my most preferred method of cooking, as it avoids the loss of vitamins & minerals and retain the colour, texture and taste of the vegetables.
One can also minimize fat intake through steaming method and can incorporate healthy diet of steamed vegetables and greens.
Ingredients (serve 3):
- 2 cups Spinach puree
- 1/2 cup Fox nuts
- 3 tbsp. yogurt
- 1 tbsp chickpea flour
- 2 onions
- 2 green chilies
- 4 garlic pearls
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tomato
- 1’ ginger
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. coriander seeds
- 4-5 peppercorns
- 2 cloves
1. Wash and roughly chop spinach leaves and tomato. Peel and dice onion, ginger and garlic.
2. Mix chickpea flour and salt with yogurt in a small bowl.
3. Dry roast the Fox nuts (Makhana) in a pan for few minutes.
4. Make a coarse powder of peppercorns and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar.
5. Place all the chopped vegetables in Steam It and cover the lid. Fill a large wok or kadai with water till the mark indicated on the Steam It and place it in the wok. Let it steam for 10 minutes on medium heat. Take all the steamed vegetables out and grind into puree.
6. Heat oil in a pan and crackle cumin seeds in it.
7. Add cloves, chopped green chillies, yogurt mixture and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
8. Pour the spinach puree into the pan and continue to simmer for 2 more minutes.
9. Add the roasted Fox nuts and sprinkle coarsely ground peppercorn & coriander powder in the gravy. I have also added cubes of Tofu in the recipe.
10. Put off the flame and cover the pan with a lid.
Serve the hot Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji or curry with any Indian flat bread or plain rice.
The same recipe can be easily converted into a healthy fat-free dip by avoiding the last step of tempering with oil.
- Adjust the consistency of gravy by adding more water.
- You can prepare the same gravy by avoiding yogurt and chickpea flour in the recipe and adding half a teaspoon of lemon juice in the end.
- Make sure to dry roast the fox nuts before adding them to the curry. Add the roasted fox nuts a few minutes before serving the dish else they tend to become soggy and mushy.
- Add Paneer or cottage cheese and Tofu or any other vegetables of your choice in the same green gravy.