Bite size pieces of white bread soaked in a bowl of sweetened warm milk used to be one of my favourite breakfasts as a kid. And when I first tasted this kheer, its texture reminded me of that bread soaked in milk; an almost rabdi like feel to it. The taste was of course different and cardamoms had made it fragrant and every spoonful was an absolute delight. Phool makhane or fox nuts are also know by other names such as gorgon nuts, lotus seeds, makhane, phool patasha, phool makhane. They are a great way to snack guilt free since they have zero fat! They are high in calcium and fibre, rich in anti oxidants, aid in digestion, strengthen the kidneys, help lower blood sugar and regulate blood pressure. I tasted and learnt about makhane pretty much after my marriage.
My mother in law used to roast them, add a little salt and black pepper and served them for snacks. You can add spices of your choice. These nuts can be enjoyed in both savoury and sweet form. The nut is pretty versatile and often used in curries, added to veggies and pilaf, and it is even used to thicken soup. This kheer is often consumed during Navratra days (Durga puja) by Hindus who observe fast for nine days and abstain from eating grains and even regular salt. So hailed is its status that an offering of this kheer is made to the Goddess Durga during the festival. Punjabis use these seeds as an offering of thanks to fire (for providing them warmth during the harsh winters) during the festival of Lohri. Grab the recipe for the kheer and enjoy it guilt free. I have used 6% milk (full fat) but you can swap it with 2% milk (toned milk) or even coconut milk to make it vegan friendly.
1 litre plus 250 mls Milk
2½ measuring tbsp Sugar (feel free to swap it with jaggery)
1 tsp Cardamom Powder
2 – 3 tbsp Nuts of your choice
While the milk is boiling, roast makhane on low heat till they slightly change colour and become crunchy (i usually roast them covered, on low heat for about 10 mins and stir them every three to four minutes).
Cool the makhane and coarsely ground them using a mortar and pestle. Once the milk has come to a boil, add the roasted and crushed makhane.
Cook them on gentle heat, stirring it every now and then. Cook till the milk becomes creamy and begins to thicken. (do not thicken too much as it will thicken further on cooling)
Switch off the heat and add sugar and cardamom. Keep stirring to prevent formation of creamy layer on the top.
Add nuts and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note – The texture of the kheer is best enjoyed when warm or at room temperature.
Note – Check for sugar and add more if required since we use less sugar in our dessert.
Yield – serves 4 to 6