Fox nuts, known in Hindi as makhana, when roasted, are one of the best snacks you can find. You can buy them puffed in most kiranas or dry-goods stores. They are quite versatile. You can use them to make sweet dishes like kheer, or add them to vegetable dishes. Dal makhani is possibly the most well-known dish that features these wonderful seeds.
However, my favorite way to eat them is to roast them in a little ghee or coconut oil with Himalayan rock salt and some seasoning. My current favorite seasoning is powdered rosemary. Prepared in this way, they are a delicious, healthy and satisfying substitute for cheese puffs, popcorn, etc.
You can also dry roast them if you want to avoid the oil. And you can season them with anything. I just tried them out on a friend who loves Cheetos, and he feels they are far superior. The consistency is very similar. If you are looking for healthy snacks, do try these.
The easiest way to roast them is to get a khadai or wok and roast them over low heat (with or without oil) for 4-5 minutes, until they turn golden. You just have to keep stirring them so they don’t burn. Add the seasonings while you are cooking them. Most Indians prefer to roast them with some mirchi masala (chili-based seasoning), but I really don’t like chilis, so I tend to go with other spices.
Oddly enough, Ayurveda considers them heavy to digest even though they seem so light.
Many people think fox nuts are lotus seeds, but actually they are the seeds of some lily. The Chinese have used them medicinally for many centuries.