Lotus seeds, Cottage cheese, Bell pepper and Peas in Cashew gravy / Phool Makhana Sabzi with Capsicum, Paneer and Matar

Experimenting with new ingredients gives me a high. Lotus seeds are an ingredient I hadn’t heard about – let alone tasted. I came across them in an article by Rujuta Diwekar, the famous Indian nutritionist who suggested using it as a healthy snack. It can be consumed (like popcorn) by dry roasting. It is also largely consumed during fasting. I wanted to make a curry that could be had with rotis. Then began the daunting process of finding it in Singapore. Mustafa is the place where most of the Indian cooking specific ingredients can be found – but the shopping complex is huge. If you do not know the ingredient shelves properly, you may never find it. It took me two visits in two months just to figure that out since I don’t frequent the area often. After this, what remained to be done was just the cooking part. I jumped on to the task and needless to say, I was deelighted with the way the dish turned out.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 40 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients for cooking: :

  • 2 cups lotus seeds/ makhana
  • 1 cup peas
  • 150 gms cottage cheese/paneer, cut into cubes
  • 2 green bell peppers/ capsicum, finely chopped
  • 6 – 7 cashews split in half
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander for garnish (optional)

Ingredients for grinding: :

  • 20 cashews, soaked approximately for 1 hour
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 green chillies


Roasting of makhana
Roasting of makhana

  • Roast the lotus seeds and cashews in a pan (left half of pic). Roast on a low flame till they are light brown in colour (right half of pic). Switch off the flame and let them cool for 15 mins.
  • Meanwhile, grind the ingredients mentioned in the grinding section into a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add cumin seeds, followed by the ground paste and some salt. Let this paste cook till the raw taste of tomato and cashew goes. This will take around 5-7 mins
  • Next, add the bell peppers and salt along with around 2 cups of water. Cover the pan and let it cook for around 5 mins.
  • Makhana cooking stage
    Makhana cooking stage
  • Add the lotus seeds, paneer and peas into the rich gravy and let them cook for another 5-7 mins. At this stage the colour of the gravy will look as shown in the pic above.
  • Cook the paneer well and let it fully marinate. The colour of the gravy will also slowly change and become a nice yellow colour.
  • Makhana final dish
    Makhana final dish
  • Garnish with coriander and serve hot with rotis. The final dish will be mouthwatering for sure!

  • Tips :

    • If you have a high flame, roast the cashews and lotus seeds separately as the cashews roast, and therefore burn faster.
    • Do not increase the quantity of cashews as the gravy will become too thick.

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