Makhana (euryale ferox) are water lily seeds that have been harvested, roasted, and popped for everyday consumption. Makhana are commonly used in a variety of Indian sweets and savories like raita, kheer, or curries that use makhana. Because fox nuts have a very similar flavour profile to popcorn (including the crunch!), they can also be eaten like a regular snack such as for happy hour or while you are watching your favourite Netflix show.
Makhana also have a variety of names that are used interchangeably such as fox nuts, lotus seeds (and we have a story about this one!), gorgon nuts, and phool makhana. What this means for you is that when you come across any of these terms, that you should just simply register it in your head that the writer is indeed talking about the makhana you've grown to know.
Where do Makhana come from?
Makhana (fox nuts) come from the part of the water lily flower that contains its water lily seeds. These water lily flower plants grow in rural areas like Bihar (India), Korea, Japan, and also along a few parts of eastern Russia.
You're probably familiar with "farm to table" cuisine, suggesting that the healthy snack that you are munching on is organic and sustainably grown. At Dear Snackers, we're proud to introduce you to the healthy snack concept "pond to table". The name is exactly as it suggests: our makhana are sustainable, naturally cultivated, and fair trade. If you would like to learn how our makhana are sustainable, organic, and compassionately cultivated then check out our blog here!
How do you process and pop makhana?
1. During harvest season, our farmers will hand-pick each blossom and separate the seeds from the pods.
2. The water lily seeds (makhana) then spend 3 days air-drying in natural sunlight.
3. Our farmers will then roast the makhana (the left image) over an open flame using a wok-type tool. Fun fact: to fuel the fires on the Bihar farms that we partner with, they use dried-out corn cobs to keep the fires environmentally friendly and sustainable!
4. The makhana then get sorted by hand, removing any shells and husks. Yes, we have indeed moved onto the right image of the makhana!
5. Our makhana are then loaded up into tuk-tuks. They get driven to a nearby port to be shipped to Canada.
6. In Canada, we season and package our makhana getting them ready for crunching!
You see, makhana go through quite the adventure before they end up in your snack pantry! There are plenty of stories behind the crunch and if you would like to learn more about how our makhana make their way from pond to table in further detail, you may discover that story here!