Today I’m going to share how to make a water lily seed snack. A few months ago, I was at Erewhon in LA, looking for a savoury snack (for once) that was also pretty healthy and somewhat nutritious. I grabbed a lily seed snack pack in a nutritional yeast flavour, and opened the bag so I could munch while shopping groceries. Side note: does anyone else do that occasionally? I’ll still pay for it of course but sometimes you go shopping when you’re so hungry you just can’t help it. Anyway, I opened the bag and finished it before the check out line. To be fair, it was a very small bag, but it was at that moment that I discovered what is now one of my favourite snacks.
Traditionally an Indian snack, makhana is popped or puffed water lily seeds, which are then dry roasted with seasonings. The result is a crunchy, popcorn-esque snack. It reminds me of a Korean giant popcorn snack I used to eat growing up, but with an even better crunch.
Lily seeds are naturally vegan, gluten free, grain free and paleo, so it’s a wonderful snack that fits many different diet types. Lily seeds are also naturally high in fiber and protein, as well as magnesium and phosphorous, making them considerably more nutritious than popcorn. Oh, and there are no kernels to get stuck in your teeth!
I was motivated to learn how to make it at home, because I started spending a lot of money on the little storebought bags, and in the process, was creating a lot of packaging waste. I also saw an opportunity to make them even healthier, sans oil and processed ingredients. First, I reached out to my boyfriend, who is half Indian, but he didn’t know what they were. His best friend’s girlfriend however (stay with me here), mentioned she had eaten them all the time growing up. I then consulted my friend Rachel Gurjar, who assured me it’s as easy as buying the puffed seed, seasoning and coating in a pan with a little oil (or ghee, for a more traditional method). My wonderful friend Asha Patel sent me a bag that she saw when she was grocery shopping at an Indian market and she so kindly mailed it my way.
I’ve experimented with this two ways, and can confidently say that Rachel was right—it’s insanely easy. Really all you need to do is purchase the puffs, coat in seasoning and cook. To cook, I chose oven baking, and for seasoning I chose a garlic, nutritional yeast and spice blend.
Some other seasonings I’ve seen are:
Curry spice (use your favourite curry seasonings)
Plain sea salt (self explanatory)
Garam masala (use your favourite garam masala powder + salt + pepper + spices)
Salt and vinegar (salt + vinegar sprayed to coat)
Dark chocolate (could toss in maple syrup or sweetener of choice + coat with cacao powder)
So you can really get as creative as you’d like. If you cook with oil, you simply toss the puffs in a little bit of oil and add the spices to coat evenly. You can roast in a frying pan or bake as I did. If you’re cooking sans oil, I recommend lemon or lime juice to help the seasoning stick. The best method to do this is to use a spray bottle, so you end up with a fine mist instead of soaked, soggy puffs.
That’s basically it! You could eat them as is but you do need to bake them to achieve the crispy crunch like the store bought varieties. Straight from the bag, they’re a little more airy and lack texture.
If you’re wondering where to purchase the puffed seeds, I’d recommend going to an Indian market for the best selection and lowest price, but I’ve also found them online. Here is a link to a bag I purchased online recently!
A delicious Indian snack–Makhana or Popped Lily Seeds are crunchy, flavourful and best of all, healthy. Here’s how to make them at home, and make them oil-free too!
- Preheat your oven to 325F while you prepare the lily seeds.
- In a large bowl, mist lily seeds, then sprinkle seasoning on top. Toss to coat evenly.
- Transfer seeds onto a lined baking tray, and roast for about 5-10 minutes, until crisp to your liking.
- Allow to cool completely before storing.
Keywords: snacks, healthy, gluten free, oil free, paleo, vegan, plant based, oil free
Love & crunching,