Makhana, water lily seeds, fox nuts, vs water lotus seeds

Water Lily Seeds vs. Lotus Seeds and the BIG misconception surrounding them!

DING! DING! DING! It's a FIGHT!

I'm not gonna lie, I had a lot of fun with the makhana vs. popcorn blog the other day, so I hope you are ready for another fight for a higher understanding of water lily seeds and lotus seeds!  But let's clear the air first..

The BIG misconception about water lily seeds and lotus seeds

water lilies, makhana, euryale ferox, water lotus, nelumbo nucfera, both flowers are on a pond

Water lily seeds are harvested from the water lily plant (euryale ferox).  

Water lotus seeds are harvested from the lotus plant (nelumbo nucfera).  

The misconception about what Makhana are actually comes from an old translation error from Hindi to English: this misunderstanding had makhana translated to water lotus seeds instead of water lily seeds when Anglophone nations were in contact with farmers from Bihar back in the day. 

As mentioned above these are two VERY different plants and to this day, the misunderstanding is still being perpetuated in publications.  

Let's go over some other key differences between water lily seeds and water lotus seeds as well:


1. Seed storage

water lily seeds, makhana, euryale ferox, fox nuts in a pod being opened; water lotus seeds, nelumbo nucfera

Water lily seeds are stored in a bulb of the water lily flower. 


Whereas water lotus seeds are stored in the lotus' roots which grow parallel to the flowers.

 

2. You can't actually pop water lotus seeds

popped water lily seeds, makhana, euryale ferox, fox nuts in a bowl as a healthy snack; roasted water lotus seeds, nelumbo nucfera, in a bowl as a healthy snack

You know that awesome light, puffy, airy makhana that has that unmistakable crunch?  Well if the seed has been popped then rest assured you are consuming water lily seeds (makhana).  


Lotus seeds, on the other hand, have to be roasted.  The seed itself never actually pops, looking very similar to the form it was originally harvested in.  Although its hard shell does get removed, it has a very different texture to it similar to sunflower seeds.

 

3. Water lily seeds and water lotus seeds have different flavour profiles

popped water lily seeds, makhana, euryale ferox, fox nuts in the hands of an Indian farmer; roasted water lotus seeds, nelumbo nucfera, in a bowl as a healthy snack

What do water lily seeds taste like?

Well water lily seeds taste extremely similar to popcorn.  They are light, airy, and the best part is that there isn't any hull to get stuck in your teeth!  Makhana, on their own, have such an open flavour profile that it lends itself to be easily flavoured just like standard popcorn.  The flavours that we offer are Sweet & Salty, Turmeric, and BBQ.   

What do water lotus seeds taste like?

Water lotus seeds have a flavour that is mild, and slightly sweet.  They kind of taste like a cross between pine nuts and green almonds.  

 

4.  Water lily seeds and water lotus seeds have different cultural significances

picture of India with the flag filling the country on the left side; picture of China with its flag filling the country on the right side.

Water lily seeds (makhana) have been snacked on in India for centuries.  They tend to be the most prescribed seeds in Ayurveda which is an Indian naturopathic form of ancient medicine still practiced to this day.

Water lotus seeds, on the other hand have Chinese roots and they make their debut appearance in various Chinese recipes. Water lotus seeds also have medicinal properties as well, being used in traditional Chinese medicines.  

Whether you call them makhana, phool makhana, fox nuts, water lily seeds, or just delicious; now you can join in on the fight to better understand this superfood and to help clear any confusion between popped water lily seeds and lotus seeds. 

Help us in this fight by sharing this post to your social networks if you think that there is any confusion amongst your friends and peers.

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