Matar makhana curry is a vibrant vegetarian dish, perfect for a party or special occasion, and easy enough to enjoy on a busy night. This is a dish with serious wow factor. We’re dunking puffed lotus seeds, peas, cashews, and golden raisins in a rich and creamy tomato sauce. You’ll get soft, chewy, crunchy, savory, and sweet in every bite.
Matar Makhana Curry
You can put almost anything in a rich and creamy tomato cashew curry and it’s bound to taste good. Matar makhana curry does not disappoint. Not only is the aroma and flavor bound to captivate, but the contrast in texture and the uniqueness of the ingredients are sure to start a conversation.
This is an impressive dish to make for the vegetarians in your life – it’s different from the typical Indian vegetarian party fare: Paneer Butter Masala, Dal Makhani, or Veg Korma. Those are classics and special event-worthy, but sometimes it’s nice to switch things up. This matar makhana curry is a dish that’s sure to dazzle.
“You did it again, Ashley! Beautiful recipe! My first time cooking with makhana, and I really enjoyed it! It was a MyHeartBeets day yesterday with this makhana curry and with the amchur daal! For this recipe, I added cashew cream instead of the heavy cream – turned out great!”Maneesha
What is Makhana?
Makhana are water lily seeds (sometimes called lotus seeds). They are also known as foxnuts or phool makhana. These seeds are popped like popcorn and look like what you see in the photo above.
You don’t want to eat these without toasting them first. When you roast makhana on the stovetop, they become crunchy. When you cook them in a sauce – like in this recipe – they absorb flavor and shrink a bit – making them little flavor-packed balls.
Makhana are healthy, delicious, and nutritious – they’re said to be rich in nutrients and they’re also a source of protein (around 5 or 6 grams of protein per 100 grams of makhana).
Many people roast makhana in ghee and spices and make a snack out of it (I love doing this and plan to share a recipe like this soon! Any interest?!) It really is like Indian popcorn.
Matar Makhana Curry Ingredients
- Makhana (puffed water lily seeds): you can find this ingredient at your local Indian grocery store or on amazon.
- Cashews: I suggest using raw cashew halves – if you can only find whole cashews then slice them in half.
- Whole Spices: cumin seeds, star anise, bay leaf
- Indian green chilli
- Onion Masala (3 frozen cubes): make my Onion Masala and use it in so many recipes!
- Frozen Green Peas
- Spices: salt, garam masala, cardamom, paprika, black pepper, roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, cayenne
- Cashew Powder: grind up raw cashews to make this
- Golden Raisins: you can omit this but I love the sweetness this adds! My nani used to add golden raisins and I think this dish is great with them.
- Heavy Cream
How to Make Makhana Curry
Toast the makhanas and cashews until lightly golden. Set aside. You can try a makhana to see if it’s done – it should be crunchy (and not chewy).
Add ghee to the pot and once it melts, add cumin seeds, star anise, bay leaf, and green chilli.
Once the cumin seeds turn brown, add the water, onion masala, frozen peas, and spices and cook until the peas are tender. Then add the cashew powder, makhanas, cashews, golden raisins and mix well. Cook for a few more minutes.
Turn off the stove and add heavy cream and mix well. Garnish with cilantro and a drizzle of heavy cream and serve!
I’m excited to hear what you think of this recipe. If you’ve never had makhana before then you are in for a treat! And if you’re familiar, then you already know how good this dish is going to be. Serve with roti, Basmati Rice, or naan. Enjoy!
More Vegetarian Main Dish Recipes:
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 cups makhana puffed lotus seeds
- ¼ cup raw cashew halves if you get whole cashews, slice in half
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Indian green chilli chopped
- 1 ½ cup water
- ¾ cup frozen onion masala 3 frozen cubes
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne ⅛ teaspoon or omit for less spice
- ¼ cup cashew powder grind up raw cashews to make this
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Cilantro garnish
- Heavy cream garnish
- Add 2 tablespoons of ghee to a dutch oven or pan over medium heat, and once it melts, add makhanas and cashews and roast until light golden. Reduce the heat to low or low medium if needed (or if the cashews are turning brown you can also always remove them). Remove the makhanas and cashews and set aside for now. Try eating a makhana – it should be crunchy when done (not chewy).
- Add 2 more tablespoons of ghee to the pot on medium heat, and once it melts, add cumin seeds, star anise, bay leaf, and the green chilli. Once the cumin seeds turn brown, add the water, onion masala, frozen peas, and spices.
- Raise heat to medium high and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the peas are tender.
- Reduce the heat to medium, then add the cashew powder, makhanas, cashews, golden raisins and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and add the heavy cream, mix well
- Garnish with cilantro and a drizzle of heavy cream and serve.
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