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Recipe:: Palak Phool Makhana Sabzi :

Palak Phool Makhana Sabzi

The first time I had seen a pack of phool makhana in a supermarket my interest was piqued. They look very much like plain popcorn but are actually popped lotus seeds. I tried to look up online and most of the recipes used cashewnut paste. I wanted a recipe that would be healthy. So I thought, why not substitute phool makhana instead of paneer in a palak paneer recipe and thus the recipe of palak makhana came up.

  • Phool makhana are popped lotus seeds that do not have a taste as such and take up the flavours of the gravy they are cooked in.
  • Lotus seeds form an integral part of Chinese medicine and are used in various medicine preperations.
  • Lotus seeds are considered to have good anti-aging properties.
  • Pan frying these popped lotus seeds helps in bringing out their mild flavours. You can saute the seeds in some ghee, sprinkle some chilli powder and salt mix over it for a nice evening snack.
  • You can find the “Phool Makhana” in most of the supermarkets in all big cities in India. If you are in US, most Indian/Asian stores will have these available.


Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it


1 bunch spinach
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup Phool Makhana
1 tspn Cumin
1 tspn Garam Masala
0.5 tspn chilli powder
1 Cinnamon stick
0.5 tspn Turmeric
0.25 cup Milk
1 Tblspn Ghee
Salt to taste


Roughly chop the spinach and rinse it carefully in a bowl of water. Place into a saucepan with the tumeric. The water left on the spinach will be sufficient for cooking it. Cover and cook until the spinach is wilted and almost cooked. Using the immersion blender, blend until semi smooth.
In a pan, toast the phool makhana in a pan with a little ghee until lightly brown (you can toast them in a dry pan if you prefer). Remove and keep aside.
In the same pan with the remaining ghee, toast the cumin until brown. Add the onions and cook until transparent.
Add the tomatoes and cook until they lose most of their liquid. Then add the spices – the turmeric, garam masala, Cinnamon stick, chilli powder and salt to taste – and the water. Mix and allow to simmer for 1 – 2 minutes.
Add the spinach and the milk and simmer for another 3 minutes. Add the toasted Phool Makhana to the spinach gravy. Bring to the boil, simmer for a moment, remove from heat and serve.